Advancing Patient Treatment and Improving Quality of Life


The primary research goal of the department of radiation medicine is to develop care strategies tailored to improve treatment for many types of cancer. It is true that one treatment that is highly effective for one patient or cancer type may be ineffective for another. As we strive to effectively treat a variety of patient situations, we are actively conducting research on the clinical, translational and basic levels to personalize care and place patients on the road to recover whenever possible. The department of radiation medicine is involved in an array of research projects broadly divided between clinical and pre-clinical investigations. The principal goals of the research activities are to advance patient treatment both in terms of increasing cure rates and minimizing treatment-related side-effects and improving quality of life. Faculty in radiation medicine collaborate with other oncologic specialists through the Markey Cancer Center and UK HealthCare.

National Cancer Institute (NIH) Clinical Trials

Our department participates in cooperative clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NIH) including:

A) NRG oncology (NSABP, RTOG, GOG)


C) Pediatric Oncology Group (POG)

D) Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG)

E) Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG)

F) National Clinical Trials Networks (NCTN)

Investigator-initiated Trials

In addition to participation in cooperative trials the faculty of radiation medicine have several investigator-initiated trials open; these include:

a) Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) to treat non-painful spine metastasis

b) SBRT for early lung cancer

c) Evaluation of a new tumor marker for prostate cancer

d) Evaluation of electron beam therapy to control sialorrhea in ALS patients

e) Use of image guidance to treat chest wall reoccurrence in breast cancer patients

f) Measure blood flow in head and neck cancer patient undergoing radiation treatments

g) Evaluation of Cs-131 interstitial brachytherapy for treatment of gynecologic malignancies


Pre-clinical Investigations


The radiation medicine faculty are involved in a wide range of pre-clinical investigations. These studies range from the evaluation of new tumor markers to advanced radiation delivery methods. Collaborative projects involving faculty and staff from the department of pharmaceutical sciences, division of medical oncology, neurology, graduate center for toxicology and the department of biomedical engineering. In addition to biological-based research, physics research is also as it applies to the delivery of therapeutic radiation therapy is of interest. Active physics projects include the evaluation of Monte Carlo algorithms to optimize radiation delivery from external beam radiation and brachytherapy. Collaboration exists with Varian Medical Systems for the development of an institutional consistency metric for prevention of errors in radiation oncology.