Optimizing the response, precision, and cost of a DNA double-strand break dosimeter

M. Obeidat, K. McConnell, B. Bui, S. Stathakis, K. Rasmussen, N. Papanikolaou, E. Y. Shim, N. Kirby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We developed a dosimeter that measures biological damage following delivery of therapeutic beams in the form of double-strand breaks (DSBs) to DNA. The dosimeter contains DNA strands that are labeled on one end with biotin and on the other with fluorescein and attached to magnetic microbeads. Following irradiation, a magnet is used to separate broken from unbroken DNA strands. Then, fluorescence is utilized to measure the relative amount of broken DNA and determine the probability for DSB. The long-term goal for this research is to evaluate whether this type of biologically based dosimeter holds any advantages over the conventional techniques. The purpose of this work was to optimize the dosimeter fabrication and usage to enable higher precision for the long-term research goal. More specifically, the goal was to optimize the DNA dosimeter using three metrics: the response, precision, and cost per dosimeter. Six aspects of the dosimeter fabrication and usage were varied and evaluated for their effect on the metrics: (1) the type of magnetic microbeads, (2) the microbead to DNA mass ratio at attachment, (3) the type of suspension buffer used during irradiation, (4) the concentration of the DNA dosimeter during irradiation, (5) the time waited between fabrication and irradiation of the dosimeter, and (6) the time waited between irradiation and read out of the response. In brief, the best results were achieved with the dosimeter when attaching 4.2 μg of DNA with 1 mg of MyOne T1 microbeads and by suspending the microbead-connected DNA strands with 200 μl of phosphate-buffered saline for irradiation. Also, better results were achieved when waiting a day after fabrication before irradiating the dosimeter and also waiting an hour after irradiation to measure the response. This manuscript is meant to serve as guide for others who would like to replicate this DNA dose measurement technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10NT02
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 21 2019


  • DNA dosimeter
  • DNA double-strand break
  • radiation biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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