information about Clinical Therapies
Using cutting-edge clinical therapies and technologies, faculty and residents in the Department of Radiation Oncology provide radiation treatment for patients with a broad range of malignant and benign tumors. Out physicians collaborate with medical physicists, dosimetrists and radiobiologists to provide the most comprehensive and compassionate care available.
Types of Clinical Therapies include:
The department uses a computed tomography (CT) scanner for imaging and three-dimensional treatment planning for patients requiring radiation therapy. This detailed anatomic imaging allows for precise optimization of 3D conformal and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
Computer-based technology allows radiation oncologists to precisely target tumors. Before treatment, a 3D image of the tumor is created and used to program the radiation beams to conform to the shape of the tumor. The 3D-CRT method permits high-dose radiation treatment of tumors that might be considered too close to vital organs to treat with conventional radiation therapy.
This therapy treats tumors in organs that move with breath, such as the lungs and liver. The technology allows radiation oncologists to monitor the tumor’s exact location and adjust for changes during treatment, minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue.
Doctors can customize the radiation dose by varying the amount of radiation given to different parts of the treatment area. Highly accurate 3D detail of the shape, size and location of the tumor helps to minimize radiation exposure to healthy surrounding organs.
By monitoring and changing the angle, size and dose of the radiation beam, physicians use this technology to deliver treatment to the whole area at once rather than in small sections. This can reduce treatment time to less than five minutes, delivering precise doses and preserving surrounding tissue.
MR-guided radiotherapy is a cutting edge treatment modality that combines high precision radiation treatment with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in one machine. MR imaging shows the tumor and healthy tissues in great detail. MR-guided radiotherapy allows the treatment team to adjust the treated area to daily changes in the patient’s anatomy and track the tumor in real time with high accuracy. This novel treatment modality results in better targeting of the tumor and improved sparing of healthy tissues.
This therapy gives radiation to the entire body at once, either in preparation for a bone marrow or stem cell transplant of as part of a high-dose radiation treatment for cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. The goals of TBI are to kill any remaining cancer cells in the body, destroy bone marrow that may harbor cancer cells before a transplant and suppress the patient’s immune system to prevent rejection of transplanted tissue.
A technique that allows the delivery of high doses of radiation to the entirely of the skin surface without treatment of the underlying tissues and organs, this methodology is particularly useful in the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and other rare lymphomas. The Department of Radiation Oncology has been offering this therapy for more than 25 years.
Also called hypofractionated radiation, this treatment delivers radiation to the breast in large, daily doses. For appropriate patients, accelerated whole-breast radiation therapy can significantly reduce the treatment course from about six weeks to three weeks, while still effectively treating the cancer.
This technique gives radiation to only part of the breast, allowing treatment to take place over the course of about one week instead of six. In addition to being more convenient for patients, APBI gives a lower radiation dose to surrounding normal tissues. Researchers nationwide are conducting trials to determine the long-term efficacy and safety of this treatment.
Different from conventional external beam radiation, this method uses highly focused x-ray beams to deliver a large dose of radiation in a single treatment. New image capabilities allowing a precise setup without an invasive head frame make this possible. SRS is used to treat small brain and spinal cord tumors, both benign and malignant, and certain blood vessel abnormalities.
Using the same principles as SRS for the brain, this therapy delivers large, single doses of radiation to other areas of the body. Radiation oncologists use advanced equipment and imaging technology to monitor the tumor during treatment and deliver radiation with pinpoint accuracy. SBRT is highly effective on certain types of lung, liver and spinal tumors that cannot be safely removed with surgery.
This form of treatment places tiny pieces of radioactive material, called seeds or pellets, in either a tumor or the surgical cavity left after a tumor has been removed. We typically use this form of therapy to treat breast, prostate and gynecological cancers.
Comprehensive radiation oncology services are available for children with malignant diseases. Clinical services include external beam radiation, with photons and electrons as needed, along with 3D-CRT, IMRT and SRS. Pediatric anesthesia services are available when needed.
While not a therapy, this innovative tool is used in external beam radiation therapy for several types of cancer. Because inhaling and exhaling can move organs as we breathe, it is sometimes difficult to aim radiation at a tumor site without also involving nearby organs, particularly in the abdomen and chest areas. An active breathing control device spares nearby organs from unnecessary radiation and provides clinicians with an accurate method for delivering radiation.