Radiation chemistry studies chemical reactions induced by applying radiation to chemical substances. In biological sense those substances range from simple metabolites to highly sophisticated polymers such as nucleic acids and proteins. The importance of investigating radical chemical reactions in the biological system is hard to overestimate. Human body nowadays is always exposed to many sources of ionizing radiation; besides, radiation therapy is one of the procedures to treat different types of cancer. It is clear that radiation chemistry links basic science with molecular biology. In his paper Wardman (2009) summarized how radiation chemistry is important in the radiation biology research.
Radiation chemistry approach proved to be indispensable in the developing of diagnostic probes for hypoxia that are important in the quantifying tumour oxygen concentration (Gray et al., 1953). Moreover, radiation chemistry contributed a lot into the research of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules that may cause lipids peroxidation, DNA damage, cofactors inactivation. Via special pulse radiolysis technique it became possible to generate and investigate activity of specific radicals. To monitor the actual concentration of drugs in the DNA vicinity Parker and Joyce (1973) applied a special fuorophore that has extended lifetime and is particularly suitable for such kind of experiments.
Radiation chemistry approaches and techniques are crucial in the research of living cells. They are of ultimate importance in deciphering molecular cross talk among free radicals and biological molecules. One of the difficulties in studying biological systems response to radiation is a time scale of the radiation effect: from milliseconds to years (Boag, 1975). Therefore, joint efforts of multidisciplinary scientists such as chemists, physicists, medical doctors, biologists are necessary to understand diverse effects of radiation on living organisms.
Boag, J. Twelth Failla Memorial Lecture. (1975). The time scale in radiobiology. In: Nygaard O.,F., Adler, H., I., Sinclair, W., K., editors. Radiation Research Biomedical, Chemical, and Physical Perspectives. New York: Academic Press, 9–29.
Gray, L., H., Conger, A., D., Ebert, M., Hornsey, S., Scott, O., C., A. (1953). The concentration of oxygen dissolved in tissues at the time of irradiation as a factor in radiotherapy. Br J Radiol, 26, 638–648.
Parker, C. & Joyce, T. (1973). Prompt and delayed fluorescence of some DNA adsorbates. Photochem Photobiol, 18, 467–474.
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