Bystander effects and their implications for clinical radiation therapy: Insights from multiscale in silico  experiments

Gibin G. Powathil (Lead / Corresponding author), Alastair J. Munro, Mark A J Chaplain, Maciej Swat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Radiotherapy is a commonly used treatment for cancer and is usually given in varying doses. At low radiation doses relatively few cells die as a direct response to radiation but secondary radiation effects, such as DNA mutation or bystander phenomena, may affect many cells. Consequently it is at low radiation levels where an understanding of bystander effects is essential in designing novel therapies with superior clinical outcomes. In this paper, we use a hybrid multiscale mathematical model to study the direct effects of radiation as well as radiation-induced bystander effects on both tumour cells and normal cells. We show that bystander responses play a major role in mediating radiation damage to cells at low-doses of radiotherapy, doing more damage than that due to direct radiation. The survival curves derived from our computational simulations showed an area of hyper-radiosensitivity at low-doses that are not obtained using a traditional radiobiological model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date12 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2016


  • Cell-cycle
  • Multiscale mathematical model
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiation-induced bystander effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Bystander effects and their implications for clinical radiation therapy: Insights from multiscale in silico  experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this