Oncologic Radiation Therapy Imaging Research

Mission

The oncologic radiation therapy imaging research program is dedicated to initiating and performing translational research projects that involve novel imaging modalities to plan, guide (i.e., image guided radiation therapy, [IGRT]), monitor and evaluate response to radiation therapy (RT). The program comprises a group of physicists, biologists and radiation oncologists studying a wide range of imaging applications in RT.


Faculty


Focus

Our current research focuses include:

  • MR guided radiation therapy for pancreas and liver stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)
  • Image-guided adaptive RT for head and neck cancers
  • Imaging of immune system responses to radiation
  • Image-guided small-animal RT with the state-of-the-art XRAD-SMART IGRT platform
  • Radiogenomic signatures to stratify cancer subtypes
  • Theranostic applications for nanoparticles
  • MR/PET use for radiotherapy planning and response evaluation


Novel 4-D-MRI images with high isotropic resolution, free from stitch artifacts and excellent blood vessel contrast that can be used to accurately define both pancreatic tumor and boost volume margins for SBRT with simultaneously integrated boost.


Implementing novel multi-parametric MRI for liver cancer patients showing excellent correlation of imaging-defined tumor and corresponding specimen cut. Functional MRIs resolved more heterogeneity within the tumor.


State-of-the-art small-animal IGRT platform allows small animals to be treated with a similar level of precision as those implemented on patients.


Identifying novel imaging and tumor biomarkers through the integration of PET/MR/CT imaging and genomic information, with the goal of eventually allowing treatment tailored to the specific disease subtypes, thereby making patient treatments more specific and effective for individual patients.


Collaborative Research

Our program collaborates with other BIRI faculty who are experts in imaging protocol development, and implements these novel protocols on patients who undergo radiation therapy to guide dosimetric planning design or monitor treatment response with longitudinal imaging. We also collaborate with biologists from BIRI and the regenerative medicine research program to implement the state-of-the-art small-animal IGRT platform as a BIRI core service, to significantly improve the quality and sophistication of small-animal radiation imaging and treatment.