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March 16th 2016

Department Faculty Awarded Research Grant

FLARE RT: precise treatment to preserve lung health and target cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.  Survival rates for patients with lung cancer is only 17.4% overall.

Radiation therapy is often used to treat lung cancer (either alone or in combination with chemotherapy and surgery).  However, lung cancer sometimes comes back after treatment.  Using advanced cancer imaging, we are predicting which tumors are more likely to come back, and intensifying treatment to those tumors.  This also helps spare excess radiation to patients whose tumors are not likely to come back.

Beyond curing more lung cancers, we are also decreasing side effects from treatment, by using specialized lung imaging to avoid treating healthy parts of the lung with radiation.  Healthy lung sparing allows for safer treatment intensification in select patients.

By imaging and mapping out the healthy lung tissues, and imaging and mapping out lung tumors that are at high risk of coming back after treatment, we are developing radiation treatments that cure lung cancers without causing excess side effects.  Adding imaging of healthy lung and imaging of cancer function together produces a more personalization therapy, known as FLARE RT.