The radiobiology group of the Cancer Research Centre of Lyon (CR-U1052 INSERM - UMR 5286 CNRS – UMS 1052 LYON I - Dir. Pr. A. Puisieux) is based on the anti-cancer Centre Léon-Bérard since June 2011. Medical exposure to ionising radiation has considerably increased this last decade. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of the radiation response remain still misknown. Our Research Group aims to better understand the biological consequences of the exposure to high (radiotherapy) and low radiation doses (radiodiagnosis, industry and space) by studying the impact of the individual factor in the repair and signaling of the DNA damage.
Among 350 000 new cancer cases per year in France, a great majority of patients are treated with radio- or chemo-therapy that notably consist in damaging DNA of tumour cells. However, 1-15% patients may show adverse reactions like dermatitis, fibrosis, rectites, etc... that reflect individual radiosensitivity. Since 2003, by accumulating numerous radiobiological data from skin fibroblasts or lymphocytes, we try to build the most complete survey of human radiosensitivity. We have proposed a classification in 3 radiosensitivity groups on the basis of the functionality of DNA breaks repair and signaling pathways that depend on ATM, MRE11 et H2AX proteins. We routinely perform radiosensitivity diagnoses from the demand of clinicians and we regularly update a list of genetic syndrome associated with radiosensitivity.
Low radiation doses (lower than 0.5 Gy may show some specific effects that make very complex the evaluation of the radiation-induced cancer risk. Radiodiagnosis exams involve very various radiation dose and energies (eg mammographies, scans, cosmic rays, exposure of nuclear workers, etc…). By having deliberately chosen to work with human cells in exact conditions of irradiation, we are coordinating some research projects to better evaluate the risk and to propose radioprotection countermeasures. Similarly to low radiation doses that produce low amount of DNA damage, some other agents like heavy metals may induced toxicity and/or cancer. In the frame of national research projects, our Group is involved in ecotoxicology researc on lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), selenium (Se), etc...
Based in Lyon, craddle of radiobiology and radiotherapy research, our Group is involved in research programs about the life and the works of radiation pioneers from Lyon and accumulate information and documents, very often in direct contact with their families. This is notably the case of Victor Despeignes, who performed the first radiotherapy treatment in 1896, of Claudius Regaud who was at the origin of the first radiobiology discoveries in 1908, who led with Marie Curie the Radium Institute in Paris and who codified the first standard fractionnated radiotherapy treatments in the 1930's, of Léon Bouchacourt, one of the first radiologists, who published the first papers about individual radiosensitivity in 1911, and of Fabien Arcelin, one of the first radiooncologists who performed the first surveys among clinicians about the radiotherapy complications in 1906 .