DNA Double-Strand-Break Dosimeter for Radiation Therapy

Tech ID:

A unique radiation dosimeter to directly measure biological damage from radiotherapy has been developed at UT Health San Antonio to greatly the improve accuracy of radiotherapy doses for certain challenging clinical scenarios.



Radiotherapy is an important tool in the arsenal of anti-cancer treatments as it generates Double-Strand-Breaks (DSBs) in the tumor cell’s DNA, resulting in cell death.  However, it can damage both healthy and cancerous cells indiscriminately, thus clinicians walk a fine line between providing necessary anti-tumor therapy and minimizing collateral cellular damage. The methods for accurately measuring the dosage received is problematic within the limitations of the current equipment calibration models.  These methods are not based on measuring biological damage and are potentially inaccurate for certain clinical scenarios, such as small radiation treatment fields, shallow treatment depths, and regions with non-homogenous tissues.


In these situations, properties of the radiation change relative to larger, consistent treatment areas, and this changes how different dosimeters respond. Many dosimeters are used to calibrate radiotherapy equipment in these situations, however they tend to indicate substantially different amounts of delivered radiation. Thus, two patients with the same diagnosis and prescribed radiation dose could receive significantly different delivered amounts of radiation. Beyond this, there is currently no way to know which dosiemter gives the best representation of the produced biological damage.


This new dosimeter directly measures the induced DNA DSBs and its usage could improve treatment accuracy by providing a more meaningful measurement of biological effectiveness of radiotherapy procedures.  An initial prototype has been successfully developed and tested and is being refined to increase the sensitivity and repeatability of detection.


Commercial Applications & Advantages:

The new dosimeter is analyzed optically immediately after irradiation and can provide measurement data in near real-time (within a few minutes), similar to the widely used optically stimulated luminescence dosimeters (OSLDs). However, this invention would have the following advantage over other commercially available dosimeters:


•       Small-field radiation measurements, such as stereotactic output factors

•       Shallow-depth measurements, such as to assess skin dose

•       More accurate delivery of the intended dose

•      Used for initial commissioning and annual calibration and quality checks

Patent Information:
For information contact:
John Fritz
Sr. Business Development Manager
Office of Technology Commercialization
Neil Kirby
Eun Yong Shim
Sang Lee