Review of the geant4-dna simulation toolkit for radiobiological applications at the cellular and dna level
The Geant4-DNA low energy extension of the Geant4 Monte Carlo (MC) toolkit is a continuously evolving MC simulation code permitting mechanistic studies of cellular radiobiological effects. Geant4-DNA considers the physical, chemical, and biological stages of the action of ionizing radiation (in the form of x- and -ray photons, electrons and __-rays, hadrons, _-particles, and a set of heavier ions) in living cells towards a variety of applications ranging from predicting radiotherapy outcomes to radiation protection both on earth and in space. In this work, we provide a brief, yet concise, overview of the progress that has been achieved so far concerning the different physical, physicochemical, chemical, and biological models implemented into Geant4-DNA, highlighting the latest developments. Specifically, the “dnadamage1” and “molecularDNA” applications which enable, for the first time within an open-source platform, quantitative predictions of early DNA damage in terms of single-strand-breaks (SSBs), double-strand-breaks (DSBs), and more complex clustered lesions for different DNA structures ranging from the nucleotide level to the entire genome. These developments are critically presented and discussed along with key benchmarking results. The Geant4-DNA toolkit, through its different set of models and functionalities, offers unique capabilities for elucidating the problem of radiation quality or the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of different ionizing radiations which underlines nearly the whole spectrumof radiotherapeutic modalities, from external high-energy hadron beams to internal low-energy gamma and beta emitters that are used in brachytherapy sources and radiopharmaceuticals, respectively.
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