Research Topic

Ionizing Radiation and Human Health: A Multifaceted Relationship

About this Research Topic

Cancer has a profound societal impact, and its relationship with ionizing radiation has always been a complex one, owing to its duality as the most extensively studied carcinogen, while also being one of the main anti-cancer therapeutic tools we have to date. Unsurprisingly, hope and despair are close companions in the public eye where the continuous strive to advance radiation oncology is held against the risks associated with radiation exposure, be it environmentally, occupationally or diagnostically. These exposure scenarios range from environmental exposures, characterized by chronic, low-level radiation doses, to low-to-moderate doses received during occupational or medical diagnostic procedures, to clinical irradiation regimes that are acute and high dose in nature. All share common aspects in terms of physical and biological factors, such as radiation quality and systemic responses. Research in this field is, by definition, interdisciplinary and poised to create transnational collaborative networks, benefiting from diverse expertise. In fact, its scientific output is not limited to health and medical applications, as these principles extend to broader biological research, such as investigation into DNA repair pathways, and are applicable to other real-life scenarios such as manned space exploration.

The goal of this Research Topic is to provide a platform for contributions that pursue two main avenues, namely:
1) How to predict radiosensitivity of cancer and non-cancer effects (e.g. risk of circulatory, ocular, and neurodegenerative diseases) and/or mitigate such effects;
2) Novel strategies aiming to achieve higher tumor cure rates and/or minimizing treatment adverse effect.

There are well-known issues in the field of radiation protection, such as the validity of the Linear Non-Threshold (LNT) model, while in the radiotherapy context, hypoxia- or cancer stem cell-based cancer resilience are points of discussion. Common to both scenarios are uncertainties as to the possible role of non-targeted effects, such as adaptive and bystander responses. Several interesting phenomena are attracting attention, most notably immune-mediated radiation effects and the so-called FLASH effect, while developments in the field of particle radiation treatment (hadrontherapy) continue to cause excitement. This Research Topic presents the opportunity to gather novel insights into what is essentially a very diverse field.

Contributions from various disciplines are sought after, given the immense complexity of the mechanisms at play in the response to ionizing radiation. We therefore welcome submissions of Original Research from in silico, in vitro, in vivo and epidemiological studies, Systematic or Literature Reviews on the effects of occupationally or environmentally relevant low-to-moderate radiation exposures, and on novel radiation-based anti-cancer strategies, including technical developments spanning biology, epidemiology, chemistry, and physics at both the pre-clinical and clinical level. We particularly encourage the submission of studies exploring the role of different types of radiation, and the combination of radiation with novel agents.

The following list is intended as a guide for potential contributions:
• Radiation studies with relevance to human health (cancer or non-cancer risk);
• Radiation studies with relevance to therapeutic benefit for the treatment of malignant or benign diseases;
• Studies with focus on innovative aspects in radiation protection/mitigation and radiotherapy;
• Animal and mathematical models of radiation responses.

This Research Topic will be closely linked to the Annual Meeting of the European Radiation Research Society in Lund (Sweden) on 13–17 September 2020 (www.errs.eu).


Keywords: Carcinogenesis, radiobiology, epidemiology, radioprotection, radiotherapy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Cancer has a profound societal impact, and its relationship with ionizing radiation has always been a complex one, owing to its duality as the most extensively studied carcinogen, while also being one of the main anti-cancer therapeutic tools we have to date. Unsurprisingly, hope and despair are close companions in the public eye where the continuous strive to advance radiation oncology is held against the risks associated with radiation exposure, be it environmentally, occupationally or diagnostically. These exposure scenarios range from environmental exposures, characterized by chronic, low-level radiation doses, to low-to-moderate doses received during occupational or medical diagnostic procedures, to clinical irradiation regimes that are acute and high dose in nature. All share common aspects in terms of physical and biological factors, such as radiation quality and systemic responses. Research in this field is, by definition, interdisciplinary and poised to create transnational collaborative networks, benefiting from diverse expertise. In fact, its scientific output is not limited to health and medical applications, as these principles extend to broader biological research, such as investigation into DNA repair pathways, and are applicable to other real-life scenarios such as manned space exploration.

The goal of this Research Topic is to provide a platform for contributions that pursue two main avenues, namely:
1) How to predict radiosensitivity of cancer and non-cancer effects (e.g. risk of circulatory, ocular, and neurodegenerative diseases) and/or mitigate such effects;
2) Novel strategies aiming to achieve higher tumor cure rates and/or minimizing treatment adverse effect.

There are well-known issues in the field of radiation protection, such as the validity of the Linear Non-Threshold (LNT) model, while in the radiotherapy context, hypoxia- or cancer stem cell-based cancer resilience are points of discussion. Common to both scenarios are uncertainties as to the possible role of non-targeted effects, such as adaptive and bystander responses. Several interesting phenomena are attracting attention, most notably immune-mediated radiation effects and the so-called FLASH effect, while developments in the field of particle radiation treatment (hadrontherapy) continue to cause excitement. This Research Topic presents the opportunity to gather novel insights into what is essentially a very diverse field.

Contributions from various disciplines are sought after, given the immense complexity of the mechanisms at play in the response to ionizing radiation. We therefore welcome submissions of Original Research from in silico, in vitro, in vivo and epidemiological studies, Systematic or Literature Reviews on the effects of occupationally or environmentally relevant low-to-moderate radiation exposures, and on novel radiation-based anti-cancer strategies, including technical developments spanning biology, epidemiology, chemistry, and physics at both the pre-clinical and clinical level. We particularly encourage the submission of studies exploring the role of different types of radiation, and the combination of radiation with novel agents.

The following list is intended as a guide for potential contributions:
• Radiation studies with relevance to human health (cancer or non-cancer risk);
• Radiation studies with relevance to therapeutic benefit for the treatment of malignant or benign diseases;
• Studies with focus on innovative aspects in radiation protection/mitigation and radiotherapy;
• Animal and mathematical models of radiation responses.

This Research Topic will be closely linked to the Annual Meeting of the European Radiation Research Society in Lund (Sweden) on 13–17 September 2020 (www.errs.eu).


Keywords: Carcinogenesis, radiobiology, epidemiology, radioprotection, radiotherapy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 October 2020 Abstract
31 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 October 2020 Abstract
31 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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