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NARILIS PhD student Sébastien Penninckx wins prize for “Best Oral Presentation” at the 3rd BHTC workshop!

Sébastien Penninckx is holder of a master’s degree in chemistry. One year ago, he started a PhD thesis with the aim to elucidate the mechanisms underlying gold nanoparticles radiosensitization in protontherapy.

This work is performed under the supervision of Prof. Stéphane Lucas at the Laboratory of Analysis by Nuclear Reaction (LARN), and carried out in close collaboration with Prof. Carine Michiels at the Laboratory of Cellular Biochemistry and Biology (URBC). The project is funded by a grant from the F.N.R.S.

On the 29th of September 2016, Sébastien Penninckx participated to the 3rd workshop organized by the Belgian Hadron Therapy Centre Consortium (BHTC) which groups all 7 Belgian university hospitals, UNamur, SCK•CEN and the Belgian Foundation against Cancer as well as the French Centre Oscar Lambert.

Sébastien was invited to provide a short oral communication for the abstract he submitted at the BHTC, entitled “Unravelling the Mechanism Responsible for the Radiosensitization of Gold Nanoparticles in Protontherapy” (see abstract below). He was awarded the prize of “Best Oral Presentation”!

Congratulations!

 

Unravelling the Mechanism Responsible for the Radiosensitization of Gold Nanoparticles in Protontherapy

S. Penninckx [1,2], AC. Heuskin [1], C. Michiels [2] and S. Lucas [1]

1. Namur Research Institute for Life Science (NARILIS), Research center for the Physics of Matter and Radiation (PMR-LARN), Université de Namur, Rue de Bruxelles, 61, B-5000 Namur, Belgium.
2. Namur Research Institute For Life Science (NARILIS), Unité de Recherche en Biologie Cellulaire (URBC), Université de Namur, Belgium.
Corresponding author: sebastien.penninckx@unamur.be

In 2012, the worldwide burden of cancer was estimated at 14 million new cases per year, making it one of the main causes of mortality in the world. The latest forecasts indicated that this figure is expected to rise to 22 million annually within the next two decades. To cope with this emergency, the scientific community puts a lot of effort into the research of effective treatment. Currently, most patients are treated with conventional external radiotherapy using x-rays. Nevertheless, a series of constraints are associated with the use of this method (tumors difficult to target due to their proximity to sensitive organs, radiation-induced second cancers, …). To compensate for these limitations, the use of charged particles is actually growing. These particles release most of their energy at a selected depth, thereby sparing surrounding healthy tissues lying behind the tumor and the beam can be scanned laterally to cope with the shape of the tumor. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement and the use of metallic nanoparticles (Au, Gd, Pt) as radiosensitizer is one possibility [1,2]. It has been shown that the interaction between a beam and these nanoagents can lead to an increase in the biological damage inside the cell [3].
Here, we present the investigation of biological effects induced by a combination of proton beam and gold nanoparticles (GNPs) on cultured carcinoma. Our results highlight a powerful radiosensitization effect of the GNPs which can lead to a remarkable increase of 42% in cell death after the irradiation. Moreover, we show the involvement of reactive oxygen species in this enhancement effect.

[1] Porcel, E. et al. Nanomedicine (2014) 10, 1601-1608.
[2] Kim, J-K et al. Phys.Med.Biol. (2012) 57, 8309-8323.
[3] Polf, J.C. et al. Appl.Phys.lett. (2011) 98, 193702.