The Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator (HIMAC) consists of a high-energy synchrotron that accelerates nuclei of He, C, Ne, Si, and Ar from 100 to 800 MeV/nucleon in three treatment rooms at dose rates up to 5 Gy/min, and four experimental rooms, one of which is for radiation biology. The treatment rooms are used during the day, while the experimental rooms are used during the night.
Fe beams are not available at present but may be available in a few years.
Conventional radiation (x ray, gamma ray) sources and extensive animal and tissue culture facilities are readily available at HIMAC.
If Fe beams became available at this facility and appropriate agreements were developed, the HIMAC could present a viable option for NASA to acquire more of the beam time needed to perform the research recommended in the main text of this report. Such an approach would also require the establishment of appropriate animal colonies in Japan, collaborative efforts with a number of Japanese investigators, and numerous sojourns by U.S. investigators to help coordinate efforts.
The SIS accelerator provides many heavy ions, from Ne to Pb, with energies up to 1 GeV/nucleon. The major emphasis of the facility is physics research. GSI is heavily utilized by national and international research groups, and about 300 scientists and engineers are employed on site.
Biology investigators generally can utilize only parasitic beams, and the beam parameters are not usually under the control of biologists. As a result, in vitro experiments can be carried out, but it is very difficult to repeat any of the experiments. There are also significant political problems involved in carrying out animal experiments at this location. In the absence of significant policy changes at this institute, it is unlikely that NASA would be able to utilize it for any of the long-term, repetitious in vitro or animal experiments recommended in the main text of this report.
Proton accelerators in Canada and in Switzerland run at ~ 500 MeV for cancer therapy or isotope production. They are not seriously used for radiobiology and have no significant advantages over Loma Linda.