Brain research at SCK•CEN aims at evaluating the effect of radiation during central nervous system development from prenatal to early postnatal stages. Low and moderate doses of radiation at different stages of gestation have been evidenced in animal models to induce brain malformation (neural tube defect, microcephaly and eye defects) as well as mental impairments at adult age, confirming thus the human observations.
Radiation therapy of children is a widely used modality to treat primary and metastatic brain tumors. Nevertheless, the side effects of radiation can adversely impact the quality of life at adult and ageing stages. Thus, understanding the underlying molecular hallmarks following exposure to radiation at young age will contribute to increase our knowledge on radiation-induced long-term health risks.
Ultimately, our aim is to identify appropriate countermeasures to mitigate radiation-induced side effects to the healthy brain, and as such improve the quality of life of exposed individuals.
Our research specifically aims to: