Although radiotherapy is used in more than half of cancer treatments, the effect of ionizing radiation on a differential metabolism in tumor and healthy cells is not well understood. The aim of this project is to collect quantitative data on the energy metabolism of healthy and tumor brain cells using recently developed fluorescent biosensors which allow measuring metabolic parameters in vivo and in real-time. This project will be performed in collaboration with Prof. B. Weber at the University of Zurich, who is a world-leading expert for in vivo real-time bioimaging. Simultaneously, we will perform millimeter-scaled tumor irradiation to understand the effect of ionizing radiation on the energy metabolism in vivo.
These data will provide fundamental insights to better target the effect of ionizing radiation on the energy metabolism of tumor cells. For the first time, we will provide a real-time readout of ionizing radiation (and anti-tumor drugs) on critical parameters of energy metabolism. This hybrid method coupling ionizing radiation and real-time imaging of metabolic substrate is expected to significantly advance the knowledge of tumor biology and therefore provide knowledge to increase radiotherapy efficiency.