- News and Events
Recent Press Releases:
(December 8, 2022) A new study led by Keith A. Cengel, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Radiation Oncology, and Brian Flesner, DVM, an associate professor of Clinical Oncology in the School of Veterinary Medicine, is evaluating the safety and efficacy of treating oral cancer in dogs with a palliative radiation in just two clinic visits. If the treatment, known as FLASH radiotherapy, is successful for animals, it's expected to pave the way for clinical trials in human patients.
(November 10, 2022) Palliative radiation therapy for cancer may slow or stop tumor growth and alleviate pain, but in veterinary medicine it is traditionally delivered over the course of several weeks. A new study led by Keith Cengel of the Perelman School of Medicine and Brian Flesner of the School of Veterinary Medicine is evaluating if palliative radiation delivered in just two clinic visits is safe and similar in efficacy to the alternative, treating dogs with oral cancer like Maple, a 13-year-old Labrador retriever owned by Penn Vet alum Meg Ruller. PennToday
(October 28, 2022) An artificial intelligence model appeared to predict the likelihood of unplanned hospitalizations during chemoradiation therapy among a cohort of patients with various cancer types. Ying Xiao, PhD, a professor of Radiation Oncology, commented on the results, which were presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology annual meeting.
(October 11, 2022) Penn Medicine and Virtua Health gave an early look at South Jersey’s first proton therapy center Tuesday night as part of a clinical partnership to bring advanced cancer care closer to patients in the Garden State. The $45 million project, erected on the campus of Virtua Voorhees Hospital in Camden County, is expected to open to patients by early 2023. The center is one of nearly 50 such facilities — which deliver the most advanced form of radiation therapy — in the country. James Metz, MD, the Henry K. Pancoast Professor and chair of Radiation Oncology, and UPHS CEO Kevin B. Mahoney were quoted.
(August 16, 2022) The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy presented $4.5 million in fellowship and scholarship awards to nine graduate and postdoctoral researchers, including Derek Oldridge, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Darwin Ye, a PhD candidate in Cancer Biology training in the laboratory of Andy Minn, MD, PhD. Healio
(July 28, 2022) FLASH radiotherapy, which delivers therapeutic radiation at ultrahigh dose rates and offers the potential to vastly reduce normal tissue toxicity while maintaining anti-tumor activity, was the topic of a Best-in-Physics presentation at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Annual Meeting. Eric Diffenderfer, MD, an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, presented and compared four FLASH proton delivery techniques.
(July 19, 2022) The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) fellow designation honors individuals who made significant contributions to the society and radiation oncology through research, patient care, education, or service to the field. Only 421 of ASTRO’s 10,000-plus members around the world have received this designation since 2006. Alexander Lin, MD, vice chair of Faculty Affairs and medical director of the Roberts Proton Therapy Center in the department of Radiation Oncology, received the honor this year.
(June 13, 2022) A stress protein that is overactive in many types of tumor cells also has a key role in tumor-supporting cells called fibroblasts, and may be a good target for future cancer treatments, suggests a study published in Nature Cell Biology. According to senior author Constantinos Koumenis, PhD, the Richard H. Chamberlain Professor of Research Oncology in the department of Radiation Oncology, “Every tumor we’ve looked at upregulates ATF4 and that inhibiting ATF4 could work against many types of cancer, which we are now actively pursuing.” Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
(April 14, 2022) Data in the New England Journal of Medicine points to an urgent need to achieve workforce diversity in academic medicine. The study’s author, Neha Vapiwala, MD, a professor of Radiation Oncology, conveyed the importance of addressing imbalances in representation to support all populations served, and that academic medical institutions must foster an inclusive environment and focus on retention and promotion of individuals from underrepresented communities.
Penn Medicine Awarded $12.3M NIH Grant to Study Ultra-Fast, High-Dose FLASH Radiation Therapy for Cancer
(March 1, 2022) The Department of Radiation Oncology will use the $12.3 million, five-year NIH grant to compare the ability of proton, carbon and electron radiotherapy to protect normal tissues from harmful effects while controlling or eradicating solid tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, soft tissues throughout the body, and bones. This research will include delving deep into the molecular mechanisms that cause toxicity and to help minimize these effects on normal tissue, so that the new technology—called FLASH, due to its incredible speed—can move toward clinical trials. Listen to Dr. Costas Koumenis here give an interview with Oncology Tube on March 14.
(January 10, 2022) As cancer-killing CAR-T cells course through the body, they make occasional pit stops at the gut. What they do there — and which gut microbes they meet up with — could potentially change the prospects of these engineered immune cells. Andrea Facciabene, PhD, a research associate professor of Radiation Oncology and Obstetrics/Gynecology, presented data during ASH 2021 on gut microbiota tuning in lymphoma. Preclinical research including murine-model work evaluated the potential benefit of gut microbiota tuning in patients with acute lymphoid leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
(January 4, 2022) Neha Vapiwala, MD, a professor of Radiation Oncology, spoke with Oncology Tube on data regarding diversity in oncology faculty being important to improve care and address disparities for the diverse U.S. population with cancer. Radiation and medical oncology faculty specifically have seen a rise of women in the field, yet more must be done to increase the underrepresented in medicine. Oncologic faculty diversity is a critical strategy for improving cancer care and addressing health inequities in an increasingly diverse U.S. cancer community.