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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y022297/1
Title: Electron momentum spectroscopy of radiosensitizers New benchmark data for assessing the theoretical models
Principal Investigator: Nixon, Dr K
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Flinders University of South Australia
Department: Faculty of Sci, Tech, Eng & Maths (STEM)
Organisation: The Open University
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 February 2024 Ends: 31 January 2026 Value (£): 423,209
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
19 Sep 2023 EPSRC Physical Sciences Prioritisation Panel - September 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Knowledge of the microscopic details of atoms or molecules contributes to our understanding of important macroscopic physical and chemical processes that underpin many areas such as health, energy and technology. Such knowledge can be derived from the development of new models to predict the behaviour of interest, in this case the efficacy of chosen compounds as radiosensitizers.

As quantum theories used to calculate the microscopic details, i.e., the electronic structure, increase in sophistication their accuracy needs to be evaluated against the most comprehensive experimental data available. This ensures that when the models are extended to applications of technological and societal significance their predications are reliable. Electron momentum spectroscopy (EMS) measures the closest observable to the electronic wavefunction and provides a means to perform a stringent evaluation of the quality of such calculations. In this project EMS will be applied to a suite of potential radiosensitizers.

Cancer is leading cause of death worldwide and as such is the greatest challenge to human health. A global scientific challenge is therefore to develop effective and low-cost cancer treatments with widespread access.

DNA is the informational molecule that encodes the instructions for life. When DNA is irreparably damaged the cell stops functioning correctly. This is exploited in radiotherapy treatments where radiation is used to intentionally damage cancerous cells to cause cell death. Radiotherapy is an effective and cost-efficient cancer treatment with approximately 70% of patients receiving radiotherapy as part of their treatment plan. For radiotherapy to cure a cancer, it must kill the tumour cells, and all cells that could lead to the regrowth of the tumour. However, this amount of radiation would result in extensive damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Radiosensitizers are compounds that selectively enhance the radiation-induced damage to cancer cells, allowing curative doses of radiation to be delivered to the cancer site, while having much less effect on the surrounding healthy tissue. Therefore, the discovery of new, efficient radiosensitizers a goal of cancer research.

EMS will be used to provide a comprehensive measurement of the electronic structure, which determines chemical structure, properties and reactions that can be used to select potential new radiosensitizers.

Key Findings
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