Measurement at home
Measurement at home

Developing a pre-clinical dosimetry service for radiobiological studies

The need

Contrary to clinical settings (where dose uncertainties are less than 3%), radiobiological experiments are affected by dose uncertainties of around 20% to 35%, which hamper translational progress and demand higher number of animals for statistically significant data.

The need for standardization and improved dosimetry for pre-clinical studies has been identified by researchers, funding agencies, journal editors and regulatory bodies, and is a priority of the Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group (CTRad). It was also addressed the Integrity in Research POSTNote published by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

Small Animal Radiation Research Platform, designed to match standard of care for 
radiation treatments in a pre-clinical setting

The solution

Funded by the Innovate UK's Non-Animal Technologies programme, a dosimetry service has been established at the National Physical Laboratory to support the pre-clinical radiation research community and provide traceable dosimetry for X-ray cabinets and Image Guided Small Animal Irradiators.

The service is based on alanine dosimetry and traceable to UK primary standards and it uses a variety of phantoms mimicking conventional plastic-ware used for cell culture and an anatomically correct tissue equivalent mouse phantom (available through Leeds Test Objects. Precision of single dosimeter measurement is better than 1.5% at 1σ for doses >15 Gy

Mouse phantom components: skeleton made of 3D-printable Accura Bluestone, lungs made of PU330, soft tissues made of WT1.

Mouse phantom components: skeleton made of 3D-printable Accura Bluestone, lungs made of PU330, soft tissues made of WT1

Maximum intensity projection from original mouse (left) and phantom (right).
Far right, CT image of phantom with alanine pellet inserted in skull. Alanine pellets in the top right insert

The offer

The following is available at NPL:

  • Recommendations for practical adoption of international Codes of Practice for dosimetry of low- and medium-energy X-ray in conventional X-ray cabinets. This includes recommendations and correction factors for back- and lateral scattering 
  • Characterization of beam quality, uniformity and dose output for conventional in vitro set ups and small animal with conventional X-ray cabinets
  • Dosimetry validation for Image Guided Small Animal Irradiators

Tissue equivalent mouse phantom with skull cavity for alanine pellet and covering cap

Pre-clinical dosimetry UK capability


For further information please contact:

Contact Giuseppe Schettino

Lead researcher

Giuseppe Schettino

Principal Research Scientist

Giuseppe Schettino is Principal Research Scientist in the Radiation Dosimetry Group

View Giuseppe's profile