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Irradiator Shared Resource

Irradiator Shared Resource (ISR) provides easy and reliable access to cutting-edge gamma- and x-ray irradiation technologies, services, and scientific consultations basic and translational studies of cancer.

Key Services provided by the ISR include: 1) radiation physics and technical consultation for YCC investigators on the best use of the irradiators; 2) routine quality assurance tests to ensure accurate dose delivery by the irradiators; 3) on-going user training for safe operation of the irradiators and regulatory compliance; (4) technical assistance of irradiation experiments, including security escort for users who lack security clearance to use the Cesium-137 irradiator; and (5) proactive irradiator maintenance to ensure all irradiators remain in optimal state, 24 hours/day and 7 days/week.

Key equipment includes a Cesium-137 gamma-ray irradiator, four X-RAD x-ray irradiators and an image-guided small animal research platform (SARRP) as highlighted below.

  1. Cesium-137 gamma-ray irradiator: The Cesium-137 irradiator (Mark I, Model 68A), manufactured by JL Shepherd and Associates, Inc. is designed principally for biomedical research. It provides precise delivery of ionizing radiation, specifically 662 keV gamma rays from the radioactive decay of Cs-137 isotope, for a wide array of research samples from molecular compounds to cell culture, animal and human tumor cells, and small animals such as rats, mice, hamsters, etc. The irradiator offers wide range of dose rates from 0.01 cGy/min to 1500 cGy/min. It has flexible collimation with the ability to partially irradiate a tumor or normal organs in small animals. It also allows irradiation in a custom-designed controlled environment for research samples. It remains as an invaluable resource for YCC investigators.
  2. Four X-RAD x-ray irradiators: The X-RAD irradiators, manufactured by Precision X-ray, Inc., are suitable for irradiation of cell cultures, feeder layers, insects, bacteria, and small animals such as rats, mice, hamsters, for studying the effects of radiation on biological samples or cells in cultures. It can deliver targeted or whole-body irradiation for studying tumor or normal tissue responses, for depletion of hematopoietic cells to determine the contribution of bone marrow-derived cells, or for testing immunotherapy agents with radiation to fight cancer. The X-RAD irradiators, each has a 320 kV x-ray tube with a maximum output of 3 Gy/min at 50cm source to surface distance (SSD), are distributed in four different buildings across the medical campus for convenient access by YCC cancer researchers.
  3. SARRP x-ray irradiator: The SARRP irradiator, manufactured by Xstrahl Inc., is designed as a versatile and multi-functional radiation irradiator for small animal studies. It has an x-ray tube with voltage up to 225 kV and dose rates up to 350 cGy/min at 35 cm SSD. In contrast to the X-RAD irradiators, SARRP combines high-resolution cone-beam CT imaging, dynamic couch and gantry movements, and 3D treatment planning software to support delivery of both simple and highly conformal radiation to pre-clinical in-vivo models. It brings similar precision, accuracy, and reproducibility of human radiation therapy to pe-clinical research, allowing researchers to engage in technically innovated, clinically relevant, and reproducible irradiation studies. The SARRP irradiator supports both in vivo study of tumor and normal tissue responses by delivering precise and pinpoint radiation to exact anatomical target and in vitro irradiations to cultured cells with improved dose homogeneity. The SARRP irradiator, currently under installation, adds unique capabilities to the ISR irradiator line up and additional research opportunities for YCC researchers in the coming funding cycle.
  4. Radiation dosimetry equipment: The ISR also possesses various dosimetry instruments needed for accurate characterization of the radiation properties of the irradiators.


Zhe (Jay) Chen, PhD, FAAPM, Director

(203) 200-2014