Despite a major paradigm shift in radiotherapy planning and delivery over the past three decades with continuing refinements, radiation-induced lung damage (RILD) remains a major dose limiting toxicity in patients receiving thoracic irradiations. Our current understanding of the biological processes involved in RILD which includes DNA damage, inflammation, senescence and fibrosis, is based on clinical observations and experimental studies in mouse models using conventional radiation exposures. Whilst these studies have provided vital information on the pulmonary radiation response, the current implementation of small animal irradiators is enabling refinements in the precision and accuracy of dose delivery to mice which can be applied to studies of RILD. This review presents the current landscape of preclinical studies in RILD using small animal irradiators and highlights the challenges and opportunities for the further development of this emerging technology in the study of normal tissue damage in the lung.
Ghita M, Dunne V, Hanna GG, Prise KM, Williams JP, Butterworth KT.