Department of Radiation Oncology

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Penn Medicine News:
Cancer Patients Can Now Use Skin Creams During Radiation Therapy

(October 18, 2018) Contrary to the advice most cancer patients receive when they go through radiation treatment, topical skin treatments, unless applied very heavily, do not increase the radiation dose to the skin and can be used in moderation before daily radiation treatments. A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that while 91 percent of clinicians surveyed said they advised patients to avoid these skin treatments and 83 percent of patients surveyed said they’d received this guidance from their doctors, testing showed there was no difference in the radiation skin dose with or without these creams. Read their findings in JAMA Oncology

Penn Medicine News:
Additional Inhibitor Can Help Anti-VEGF Therapy Overcome Resistance in Deadly Brain Cancer

(August 27, 2018) A team led by senior author Yi Fan, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at Penn, analyzed human glioblastoma specimens and found VEGF receptor expression was reduced in tumor-associated endothelial cells – the cells that line the interior surface of the blood vessels. “This could be the key to solving the biggest problem in the field of anti-vascular cancer therapies,” Fan said. “Tumors are highly resistant to anti-VEGF therapies alone, but our study shows the flaw is in the current treatment, not the concept itself.” Click here to read more.

Penn LDI:
Justin Bekelman Wins 2018 American Cancer Society Cancer Control Award

(August, 2018) Penn Medicine Oncologist, LDI Senior Fellow and Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology Justin Bekelman has been named winner of the 2018 Cancer Control Award from the Philadelphia Market of the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Penn Nursing:
Conflicting Guidance on Opioid Prescribing Can Jeopardize Pain Management for Patients with Cancer

(6/12/2018)  In an upcoming article in JAMA Oncology, lead-author Salimah H. Meghani, PhD, MBE, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor of Nursing and Term Chair of Palliative Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), and co-author, Neha Vapiwala, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Vice Chair for Education in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (PSOM), call for key agencies (CDC, NCCN, American Medical Association, American Society of Clinical Oncology) and other organizations to collaborate and resolve these inconsistencies. The article, Bridging the Critical Divide in Pain Management Guidelines From the CDC, NCCN, and ASCO for Cancer Survivors, is available online first and will be published in the October 2018 issue of the journal. 

Penn Medicine News:
Penn Study Maps Potential of Manipulating Gut Microbiome to Boost Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapies

(4/2/2018) Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insights, a team led by senior author Andrea Facciabene, PhD, a research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology and Obstetrics/Gynecology, found that the effectiveness of adoptive T cell therapy (ACT) in mice with cancer is significantly affected by differences in the natural makeup of gut bacteria and treatment with antibiotics.

Varian Partners with Penn Medicine for Proton Therapy Training and Education Program

(11/28/2017) Varian announced it is partnering with Penn Medicine to develop and launch a comprehensive proton therapy training and education program. Comprised of both online and in-person training sessions, participants will have the opportunity to learn key clinical concepts firsthand from proton therapy experts at Penn Medicine. 

Penn Medicine News:
Penn Medicine Radiation Oncology Delivers First Treatment in the World with Halcyon 

(9/21/2017) Penn Medicine Radiation Oncology successfully delivered the
first treatment in the world with the new Halcyon Linear Accelerator technology on 09/13/2017. The department spent the past 2 years developing this unique cancer treatment with Varian. It is an incredibly proud moment that was preceded with extensive efforts and coordination to get everything in order. This is an important step for the department and Penn Medicine as we continue to lead the world in next generation treatment for cancer patients. 

Penn News Today:

(8/4/2017) Protons with a Purpose
The Roberts Proton Therapy Center at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center houses a full research beamline for protons and a personal patient care facility. “We offer access to the most unique clinical environment of proton and photon therapy capabilities, all integrated under one roof,” Neha Vapiwala, MD of the Perelman School of Medicine said. (Videos in link)

Penn Medicine News:

(7/13/2017) Cancer Cells Force Normal Cells to Mimic Viruses to Help Tumors Spread, Resist Treatment
Associate Professor, Andy Minn, MD, PhD and lab member Barzin Nabet, PhD have identified how cancer cells corrupt normal cells. They force the cells into mimicking a virus, which leads to more aggressive cancer and resistance to treatment. The team now looks to potential therapeutic targets to respond to the interference.



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