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The UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology

UCLA Radiation Oncology: In The News

Phone: (310) 825-9775 | Request an appointment »


Kamrava and Demanes
Drs. Kamrava & Demanes
Link to Kamrava Link to Demanes

State-of-the-Art "Same Day" HDR Brachytherapy

UCLA brachytherapy takes big step forward by opening a State-of-the-Art anesthesia ready brachytherapy procedure suite.

All the brachytherapy steps will be done in one place without waiting or having to transport the patient. We will do prostate, breast, lung, esophagus, gynecologic and other kinds of brachytherapy procedures using advanced imaging technology. It is a major improvement in efficiency and patient comfort. Patients will no longer routinely have to stay overnight. Please call and ask us about "Same Day" HDR Brachytherapy.
Request an Appointment for Brachytherapy »


Percy Lee  
Dr. Percy Lee  

Clinical Trial: Predicting Radiation Toxicity

DxTerity Wins Contract to Develop a Test for Predicting Radiation Toxicity

Nov, 2013 -- DxTerity will be collaborating with Dr. Percy Lee, Chief of Thoracic and GI Radiation Oncology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Lee will serve as co-Principal Investigator and brings his clinical expertise in multiple radiotherapeutic modalities used for the treatment of cancer. According to Bob Terbrueggen, Founder and CEO of DxTerity, “This new diagnostic test will build upon the expertise that DxTerity has developed in predicting a patient’s genomic response to ionizing radiation and provide a valuable tool for optimizing cancer treatment.”
View news release »


Xoft Machine  
Xoft Machine  

One Treatment One Day

Nov, 2013 -- At UCLA, we have the resources to deliver radiation therapy in the operating roomIntraoperative radiation therapy shortens the treatment time from 6.5 weeks to 1 day
In our clinic, Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is being used to treat breast cancer. It is a newer form of partial breast radiation which is done from start to finish in the operating room in conjunction with the surgery. IORT for breast is a type of breast brachytherapy or APBI (Partial Breast Irradiation).It is designed to reduce radiation exposure to just those areas at most risk for recurrence and it maximally limits treatment to the normal surrounding tissue. In the case of IORT breast, the radiation is given in the operating room when the tumor bed is exposed. In many cases, no additional radiation therapy is needed. IORT is typically used for smaller and more favorable breast cancers. We also employ other brachytherapy methods and the latest external beam techniques for breast cancer to best fit the individual patient needs.
Ask our brachytherapy team if IORT is right for you » | Intraoperative Radiation »


AccreditationUCLA Radiation Oncology Earns ACR Accreditation

May, 2013
UCLA Radiation Oncology has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in radiation oncology as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Radiation oncology (radiation therapy) is the careful use of high-energy radiation to treat cancer. A radiation oncologist may use radiation to cure cancer or to relieve a cancer patient’s pain.

The ACR is the nation’s oldest and most widely accepted radiation oncology accrediting body, with nearly 500 accredited sites, and 25 years of accreditation experience. The ACR seal of accreditation represents the highest level of quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting specific Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards developed by ACR after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified radiation oncologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Patient care and treatment, patient safety, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Radiation Oncology Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement. The ACR is a national professional organization serving more than 36,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services. Accreditation FAQs acr.org »


Radiation Therapy and The Risk of Heart Disease

Mar, 2013
As anyone who has had chemotherapy or radiation knows, cancer treatments and collateral damage can go hand-in-hand. For quite some time, one of the consequences we've been most concerned about is the effect that radiation can have on the heart. A new study in New England Journal of Medicine tells us more about that risk-and how long it lasts. The study followed 2168 women with breast cancer who were treated with radiation between 1958 and 2001 in Sweden and Denmark. During that time, 963 of these women developed a serious heart problem and some died from heart disease. But not all women were equally at risk. The risk rose in proportion to the amount of radiation they had received and was higher in women who had cancer in their left breast (which is closer to the heart) than in women who had cancer in their right breast. It was also higher in women who were overweight, had diabetes, or smoked-other known risk factors for heart disease. The risk persisted long after the radiation exposure with 33 percent of the women developing heart problems 10 to 19 years after their breast cancer treatment and 23 percent not experiencing problems until 20 or more years later.

It is important to note the study looked at women treated from 1958 - 2001.  Technology has improved vastly since this time frame and the heart generally receives less radiation than it did during this study period. Therefore, this study should not dissuade women from getting radiation for breast cancer or DCIS. Much of the radiation given to these women was 10 or 20 years ago, when the technology was more primitive. But even today women should make sure that the facility that is doing the radiation is up to date on the latest techniques. Some researchers are investigating whether having women lay on their stomach, rather than on their back, so that the breast hangs down away from the heart, can reduce this risk. In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Javid Moslehi, co-director of the Cardio-Oncology Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, brings up another important point: more effort needs to be made to bring cardiologists into discussions about radiation, so that they can provide their expertise during treatment planning and add previous radiation therapy to their list of risk factors for heart disease. If you have questions about radiation therapy for breast cancer and heart disease please feel free to call and speak with a UCLA radiation oncologist.  Call (310) 825-9775 and ask to speak with a member of the radiation oncology breast team.


Ovarian Cancer Care Often Substandard

Overian Cancer StoryMar 12, 2013
A new study presented this week at a meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Los Angeles found two out of every three women diagnosed with ovarian cancer could be getting better treatment. A general surgeon who doesn't see much ovarian cancer may not have the capability to do this procedure," said Dr. Ursula Matulonis, director of the gynecological oncology program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. A 2006 study conducted by Dana-Farber researchers and others found that ovarian cancer patients were more likely to undergo a debulking procedure if they were operated on by a gynecologic oncologist rather than a general surgeon, and were less likely to die of any cause over a 10-year period, a finding confirmed in a 2010 study conducted by California researchers. The study also found that surgeons who treated at least 10 ovarian cancer patients each year and high-volume hospitals with at least 20 ovarian cancer patients annually were more likely to follow these practice guidelines, which are based on the most up to date evidence for maximizing a patient's survival chances and quality of life. Story on nbcnews.com »


Dr. Michael Steinberg
Dr. Michael Steinberg

ASTRO Announces 2012 Fellows

Jul 26, 2012
Dr. Michael Steinberg on astro.org -- The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has named its 2012 class of Fellows. Professor and chairman of the department of radiation oncology at UCLA, Michael L. Steinberg, MD, FASTRO, ASTRO president said "This year's class clearly stood out because of their distinct contributions to ASTRO and to the field of radiation oncology as a whole."
Story on expertclick.com » | Announcement on astro.org »


Dr. Michael Steinberg
Dr. Michael Steinberg

ASTRO Publishes Safety is No Accident: A Framework for Quality Radiation Oncology and Care

Jul 18, 2012
Dr. Michael Steinberg on astro.org -- The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is proud to announce the publication of Safety is No Accident: A Framework for Quality Radiation Oncology and Care, a comprehensive book detailing minimum recommended guidelines for radiation oncology practices. Story on astro.org »


TomoTherapy at UCLA
TomoTherapy®

NEW AT UCLA - TomoTherapy

New Cancer Treatment at UCLA

Jul 11, 2012
UCLA Radiation Oncology is excited to announce the addition of TomoTherapy HD to our compliment of machines! Now more than ever, UCLA has the breadth in technology paired with our expert physicians and treatment team to create the most appropriate personalized treatment plan that is right for you. Overview » | For Patients » | For Referring Physicians »


Kamrava and Demanes
Drs. Kamrava & Demanes
Link to Kamrava Link to Demanes

High-Dose-Rate Prostate Brachytherapy Consistently Results in High Quality Dosimetry

May 31, 2012
Authors Dr. Kamrava & Dr. Demanes on redjournal.org -- HDR brachytherapy allows the physician to consistently achieve complete prostate target coverage and maintain normal tissue dose constraints for organs at risk over a wide range of target volumes. Story on redjournal.org »


Santa Monica Location
Santa Monica

We’re Growing!

Our New Santa Monica Location is Now Open
May 01, 2012
We’re expanding our services to provide you with a new convenient location in Santa Monica. Department of Radiation Oncology, 1223 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Tel: (424) 259-8777

New Location Contact Information » | Maps & Directions » | News story on smmirror.com »
Additional Stories: Story on UC Health »


Donna Karan
Donna Karan

Donna Karan Healing Program Coming Soon to UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy at UCLA

Mar 19, 2012
KCBS-Channel 2 aired a March 19 story on fashion designer Donna Karan's Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program, which uses Eastern healing techniques to enhance the care of hospital patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology will be offering this program to cancer patients starting in May! Webcast UCLA YouTube Video » | Story on cbs.local.com »


Dr. Chris King
Dr. Chris King

The New War on Cancer

Mar 15, 2012
The UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology is one of the first centers in the nation to offer SBRT for prostate cancer. Dr. Chris King is one of the leading experts in SBRT for prostate cancer at UCLA. Men with localized disease can now complete radiation in just two weeks, with no surgery. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivers high doses of radiation to targeted areas in just five sessions on alternate days. This modality complements our existing treatment regimens including external beam and brachytherapy both low dose and high dose rate (HDR). Please ask your doctor if SBRT is appropriate for you. Story on latimes.com » | SBRT for Prostate Cancer » | Savi Center of Excellence »


TureBeam System at UCLA
TrueBeam™ System

The New TrueBeam™ System

Feb 28, 2012
Advanced Radiotherapy System at UCLA - Powerful cancer treatments with pinpoint accuracy and precision. Opening up treatment options for people with cancer, it targets tumors with accuracy measured in millimeters. With its power and flexibility, clinicians can develop treatments that are best suited for patients’ individual circumstances. TrueBeam combines imaging, beam delivery and sophisticated motion management to accurately and precisely target tumors with speed.
TrueBeam System Overview » | Frequently Asked Questions »


IUO Website
IUO Website

New IUO Website

Institute of Urologic Oncology

Feb 21, 2012
UCLA scientists and physicians developing leading-edge therapies for the treatment of prostate, kidney, bladder and testicular cancers. Radiation Oncology faculty Dr. Christopher King and Dr. Patrick Kupelian are proud to be part of the institute. IUO Expert Team » | New IUO website »


Dr. Frank Pajonk
Dr. Frank Pajonk

Anti-cancer Treatment Generates Therapy-resistant Cancer Stem Cells from Less Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells

Feb 14, 2012
By Kim Irwin -- Researchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Report for the First Time that Radiation Transforms Cancer Cells into Dangerous Stem Cells. Breast cancer stem cells are thought to be the sole source of tumor recurrence and are known to be resistant to radiation therapy and don’t respond well to chemotherapy. "What is really exciting about this study is that it gives us a much more complex understanding of the interaction of radiation with cancer cells that goes far beyond DNA damage and cell killing," Dr Frank Pajonk said. PDF Version »


Clare and Grace Suomi
Clare & Grace Suomi

Patient Profile: Grace Suomi—Young Cancer Patient Battles Ewing’s Sarcoma

Nov 01, 2011
By Kim Irwin -- Grace Suomi was five and had just finished the year at Curtis School in Los Angeles when she started exhibiting strange symptoms. They started with terrible nightmares that caused the child to thrash and scream in her sleep. Her mother, Clare Suomi, attributed the bad dreams to anxiety, as Grace was scheduled to start camp soon. Then her right jaw started hurting, her appetite disappeared and her personality seemed somehow off. Since the family was headed out on a three-week vacation the following week, Suomi decided Grace needed to see her doctor. Story on cancer.ucla.edu »  |  More patient stories »


Dr. Michael Steinberg
Dr. Michael Steinberg

UCLA Health System - Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to Acquire ViewRay Radiation Therapy Research System

Sep 27, 2011
CLEVELAND, PRNewswire/ -- UCLA Health System and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) will become the third oncology research center in the world to acquire a radiotherapy system from ViewRay™, Inc., a privately held medical device company. The ViewRay system will enable researchers at UCLA "to continue to meet our mission of fostering patient-centered care while pursuing better treatments and cures for cancer," said Michael Steinberg, MD. Story on prnewswire.com » | PDF Version »  Additional Stories: MDBR | SysCon.com | DigitalJournal | DigitalJournal


Dr. Michael Steinberg
Dr. Michael Steinberg

Shorter Course of Radiation May Treat Prostate Cancer

Sep 27, 2011

Researchers See Potential Benefits for a 5-Week Course of Radiation Therapy
By Charlene Laino, WebMD, Health News -- A shorter, cheaper, and more convenient five-week course of radiation appears to work just as well as the traditional seven-and-one-half week schedule for men with prostate cancer. ASTRO president-elect Michael Steinberg, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles Health System, says that with refinement, the short course is going to catch on. "Patients want it [treatment] faster and cheaper. Story on WebMD.com »  |  PDF Version »


Dr. Frank Pajonk
Dr. Frank Pajonk

Metabolic State of Brain Cancer Stem Cells is Significantly Different Than That of Differentiated Cancer Cells

Sep 6, 2011
The metabolic state of glioma stem cells, which give rise to deadly glioblastomas, is significantly different from that of the brain cancer cells to which they give birth, a factor which helps those stem cells avoid treatment and cause recurrence later. Researchers with the UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center also found for the first time that these glioma stem cells can change their metabolic state at will. Story on cancer.ucla.edu »  |  PDF Version »  |  Story on cancer.gov »  |  Story on sciencedaily.com »


Doctors Mitchell Kamrava and Susan McCloskey Read more about Dr. Mitchell Kamrava Read more about Dr. Susan McCloskey
Drs. Kamrava and McCloskey

New Physicians!

We are excited to announce the addition of two new faculty physicians to Radiation Oncology Department. Dr. Mitchell Kamrava and Dr. Susan McCloskey joined the prestigious Radiation Oncology Clinical Faculty on July 1, 2011. Dr. Kamrava will be the second faculty to join the Brachytherapy program at UCLA. Dr. McCloskey is known for her health policy research and will be focusing on Breast and many other cancers.
More about Dr. Kamrava »
More about Dr. McCloskey »


Dr Keisuke Iwamoto
Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto

What’s Your Radiation Risk?

April 04, 2011

Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto on lifescript.com
How serious is the risk of radiation exposure from Japan? Get the facts about contamination of air, water and food – and read why experts say the chances of being harmed by overseas radiation still are minuscule.

View PDF version >>
Article on lifescript.com >>


Keisuke Iwamoto on UCLA News|Week
Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto

Myths About Japanese Radiation Dispelled

March 30, 2011

Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto on UCLA News|Week
In this week's video news digest, radiation biologist Keisuke Iwamoto dispels myths about radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Iwamoto, an associate professor of radiation oncology, studies the effects of radiation on the human body.

View Webcast >>
Story on UCLA News|Week >>


Dr William McBride
Dr. William McBride

Can Japan's Nuclear Fallout Affect The U.S.?

March, 2011

Dr. William McBride on KTLA.com
Can Japan's Nuclear Fallout Affect The U.S.? Cher Calvin Reports - KTLA
In the wake of Japan's deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear explosions, now there's new concern about whether radioactive material could reach the U.S.

View Webcast >>
Video Gallery >>


Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto
Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto

Radiation Crisis in Japan and Cancer Risk?

March 29, 2011

UCLA Doctor Keisuke Iwamoto on KTLA

Dr. Kei Iwamoto, an associate professor of radiation oncology and a radiation biologist at UCLA, discusses the radiation crisis in Japan on KTLA news.

View Webcast >>
Video Gallery >>


Scientist William McBride
Scientist William McBride

Japan Earthquake: Could Nuclear Power Plant Radiation Reach L.A?

March 17, 2011

Dr. William McBride on blogs.laweekly.com
Update: Minor amounts of radiation are projected to reach SoCal by Friday, after the jump. Could radiation from Japan's quake-stricken nuclear power plants reach Los Angeles? It's a long shot. But a look at Pacific jet stream animation shows that what happens in Japan doesn't stay in Japan. The stream carries weather from Asia straight into the Pacific Northwest and, at times, into Southern California.
View PDF version >>

Article on blogs.laweekly.com >>


Dr Keisuke Iwamoto
Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto

Live chat: The potential health hazards of radiation with Keisuke Iwamoto

March 17, 2011

Doctor Keisuke Iwamoto on latimes.com
Worried about the health effects of radiation exposure? Get answers during a live chat with Keisuke Iwamoto, on the faculty of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at UCLA. Iwamoto is also an adjunct associate professor of experimental radiation oncology. His research interests include how the body responds to radiation exposure and how it can lead to cancer. Iwamoto also analyzed donated tissue samples from Japanese atom bomb survivors.
View PDF version >>

Live Chat on latimes.com >>


Dr William McBride
Scientist William McBride

Doctors Try to Ease Radiation Exposure Fears

March 16, 2011

Dr. William McBride on cbn.com
With several Japanese nuclear plants crippled by Friday's earthquake and tsunami, radiation poisoning -- or Acute Radiation Syndrome -- has become a real threat for residents of the island nation. While the threats of radiation mount, doctors hope to ease the fears of those affected. "People are very scared of radiation because they can't see it," explained Bill McBride of the University of California's Department of Radiation.
View Webcast >>

Article on cbn.com >>


Dr Keisuke Iwamoto
Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto

Fears Radiation Will Spread From Japan to Calif.

March 26, 2011

Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto on KABC
By Lisa Hernandez and Miriam Hernadez SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- The fear that radiation will spread from Japan to the U.S. has sparked a run on potassium iodide pills, even though experts say that the threat of exposure is very remote.

View Webcast >>
Article on KABC >>


Scientist William McBride
Scientist William McBride

Radiation exposure: What we know from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

March 15, 2011

Dr. William McBride on latimes.com
Radiation exposure is sadly all too familiar to the people of Japan. The health effects of radiation were poorly understood until the United States dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki toward the end of World War II. Prior to that time, scientists had widely mixed views on the impact of radiation exposure. "There was a strange kind of love-hate attitude about radiation before that," said Dr. William McBride, a professor of radiation oncology at UCLA.
View PDF version >>

Article on latimes.com >>


UCLA Scientist William McBride, on KABC
Scientist William McBride

Radiation Risk Adds to Fears in Japan Disaster

March 14, 2011

UCLA Scientist William McBride, on KABC
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There was yet another explosion at Japan's Fukushima nuclear facility Monday, prompting new fears of more radiation being released. A radiation expert in L.A. says while the situation is critical, there are things that can be done to minimize the danger from exposure.
View Webcast >>

Story on abclocal.go.com >>


Jeffrey Demanes, MD
Jeffrey Demanes, MD

High-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy Gets Patients Back to Normal Living More Quickly

Prostate Cancer Treatment and Breast Cancer Treatment:

The goal of brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy, is to precisely target the radiation exposure to the tumor where it is needed and avoid surrounding healthy tissues.

Brachytherapy Treatment Video >>
Download Article (PDF) >>
Brachytherapy Program >>


Scientist William McBride
Scientist William McBride

UCLA Radiation Oncologist and Cancer Researcher Receives Gold Medal, Highest Honor Bestowed by Radiation Oncology Society

Nov 10, 2010

Scientist William McBride, whose research focuses on the role of damage response to radiation in normal tissue and malignant tumors, has been given the Gold Medal award by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the highest honor bestowed by the 10,000-member organization. McBride, director of the division of cellular and molecular oncology in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA, received the award during organization’s 52nd annual meeting, held last week in San Diego.

View PDF version >>


UCLA Grant to Develop Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological and Nuclear Attacks Renewed

William McBride
Scientist William McBride

Oct 14, 2010

Radiation Oncologists Seeking to Discover Compounds that will Help Mitigate Damage to Immune System

Researchers in the Radiation Oncology Department at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have received a $14 million grant to develop countermeasures that will help treat damage caused by radiological or nuclear threats such as a dirty bomb attack. The grant, awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a renewal of a five-year $14 million grant first awarded to UCLA in 2005. Scientist William McBride, a professor of radiation oncology and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher, serves as UCLA’s principal investigator. View PDF version >>
Article on globalsecuritynewswire.org >>
Article on news-medical.net >>
Article on today.ucla.edu >>


Michael L. Steinberg, M.D.
Dr. Michael Steinberg

ASTRO Elections

Sep 08, 2010

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) announced UCLA's Michael L. Steinberg, M.D., FASTRO as President-elect.

ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies.

View PDF version >>

www.astro.org >>


Irradiating the Brain Site That Harbors Stem Cells Improves Progression-free Survival in Patients with Deadly Cancers

Dr. Frank PajonkJuly 22, 2010

Patients with deadly glioblastomas who received high doses of radiation that hit a portion of the brain that harbors neural stem cells had double the progression-free survival time as patients who had lower doses or no radiation targeting the area, a study from the Radiation Oncology Department at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found. Patients who underwent high doses of radiation that hit the specific neural stem cell site, known as the stem cell niche, experienced 15 months of progression-free survival, while patients receiving lower or no doses to this region experienced 7.2 months of progression-free survival, said Dr. Frank Pajonk, an associate professor of radiation oncology, a cancer center researcher and senior author of the study.
Article on biomedcentral.com >>
Article on sciencedaily.com >>
View PDF version >>


The UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology is pleased to announce the appointment of Patrick Kupelian, M.D.

Dr. KupelianJuly 01, 2010

The UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology is pleased to announce the appointment of Patrick Kupelian, M.D., Professor and Vice-Chair of Clinical Operations and Clinical Research. Dr. Kupelian comes to UCLA from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, FL, where he was the Chairman and Scientific Director of Research for Radiation Oncology. He completed his residency training in Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and completed a fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Dr. Kupelian specializes in genitourinary and pulmonary malignancies and is an internationally known expert in the development and evaluation of cutting edge technologies in Radiation Oncology. For appointments: (310) 825-9775 www.radonc.ucla.edu


Dr. Jeffrey Demanes receives the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO) Gold Medal

Jeffrey Demanes, MD - High Dose Rate (HDR)Brachytherapy, UCLA Radiation Oncology.February 26, 2010

The American College of Radiation Oncology honored Dr. Jeffrey Demanes MD, FACRO with the Gold Medal Award at this year's conference.

Dr. Demanes specializes in brachytherapy. He pioneered the use of high-dose-rate brachytherapy in prostate, head and neck, breast, GI, and gynecologic cancer. His research explores the novel use of brachytherapy in the treatment of cancer.

Learn more about HDR Brachytherapy >>


Radiation Oncology Patient Celebrates 100th Birthday

Radiation Oncology Patient Celebrates 100th BirthdayNovember 16, 2009

Doctors, nurses, technicians and other staff of the Radiation Oncology Department surprised patient Lydia Topalian with a party to celebrate her 100th birthday. 
Read More >> 

 


UCLA Has New Weapon in Battle Against Cancer  

See UCLA Radiation Oncology coverage on CBS2UCLA's Department of Radiation Oncology has acquired a new cancer-fighting device, allowing for higher doses of radiation in a smaller amount of time.  They are the first center in the Los Angeles region to install the Novalis Tx, a non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgery mechanism that includes three imaging modalities. 
Click to see coverage on CBS2 >>

 


Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Rated Best Hospital in West for 19th Consecutive Year in U.S. News & World Report Survey

July 10, 2008

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center ranks as one of the top three American hospitals - and the best hospital in the western United States for the 19th consecutive year - according to a U.S. News & World Report survey that reviewed patient outcomes data, reputation among physicians and other care-related factors.  

The news comes on the heels of the hospital's June 29 move into its new state-of the-art building, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.  

The 19th annual "America's Best Hospitals" guide highlights U.S. News & World Report's July 21 edition. The rankings are also available online at www.usnews.com/besthospitals


In Vivo Imaging, Tracking and Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells

Written by Dr. Frank Pajonk 

Cancers contain a small population of so-called cancer stem cells. Their frequency varies between the different types of cancer, but it is generally thought to be in the order of 1 in 10,000 cells. These cells are the only cells, able to regrow the entire tumor after debulking surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment while all of their progeny lack this ability. Additionally, cancer stem cells are relatively resistant to radiation therapy and highly resistant to established chemotherapeutic agents. In order to cure a cancer, all cancer stem cells have to be eliminated, which can be achieved by complete surgical resection or if the surrounding normal tissue allows for application of a sufficient radiation dose, lethal for all cancer stem cells.
Over the last 5 years, several groups of researchers have identified proteins on the surface of cancer stem cells, which are not present on their daughter cells. These proteins can be detected by specific antibodies and allow for prospective identification of cancer stem cells. However, in order to do this, tumors have to be removed from the body. 

Recently, DMCO researchers observed that cancer stem cells are resistant to Velcade, a drug that inhibits a protease named proteasome and is used to treat patients suffering from multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. While they investigated the reasons for this resistance, they discovered that this resistance could be utilized to identify cancer stem cells in living animals and they demonstrated for the first time that elimination of cancer stem cells was sufficient for tumor regression in solid tumors. This novel imaging system enables DMCO researchers to test how established and novel treatment options need to be combined to eliminate cancer stem cells and thus cure cancer with radiation therapy even more efficiently. The full article can be found in the March 4th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/).


Resistance to Radiation Therapy (RT)

Written by Dr. Nicholas Cacalano

Dr. Nicholas CacalanoResistance to radiation therapy (RT) is a hallmark of deadly cancers such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which has a dismal 2-3% five-year survival rate. Much effort has been focused on developing novel molecular therapies that sensitize tumors to RT and improve patient survival and quality of life.  Researchers in the Radiation Oncology Department at UCLA have found that a molecule called Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling (SOCS)-3, is overexpressed in radioresistant glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), and confers protection from radiation-induced cell death.  Using genetically engineered cells, they found that cells lacking SOCS3 are more sensitive to radiation because they fail to activate the expression of p21, a molecule that is critical for radioprotective responses such as cell cycle arrest and DNA repair. In contrast, cells expressing SOCS3 can more effectively recover from irradiation by undergoing p21-mediated cell cycle arrest.  The research team concluded that SOCS3 overexpression in GBM can increase radiation resistance by promoting p21 expression, cell cycle arrest, and DNA repair following therapeutic doses of radiation. This work suggests that molecular targeting of SOCS3 may be a novel strategy for overcoming radiation resistance of tumor cells and increasing the effectiveness of radiation therapy.

SOCS3 regulates p21 expression and cell cycle arrest in response to DNA damage.
Sitko JC, Yeh B, Kim M, Zhou H, Takaesu G, Yoshimura A, McBride WH, Jewett A, Jamieson CA, Cacalano NA.
Cell Signal. 2008 Dec;20(12):2221-30.


Grants and Awards 2008

Diana Gage, MD, PhD - UCLA Radiation Oncology

Diana L. Gage, MD, PhD
Radiation Oncology
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Los Angeles, Calif

RSNA Research Resident Grant  

Radiosensitization with Anti-VEGF in Glioblastoma Cells

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer, accounting for approximately 40% of all primary malignant brain tumors. Despite optimal treatment with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the prognosis for these patients remains poor. Adjuvant temozolomide with radiotherapy serves as the standard of care for newly-diagnosed cases. Recently, antiangiogenic therapy using bevacizumab (BV) in combination with irinotecan has emerged as a promising development in the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma. BV is a humanized monoclonal antibody directed against the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Besides its role in angiogenesis, VEGF may act in an autocrine manner to enhance cellular survival, providing a pro-survival feedback loop that may decrease the efficacy of temozolomide and/or radiation. BV treatment is expected to inhibit this feedback loop to increase cytoxicity. Therefore VEGF blockade may directly inhibit tumor growth in a paracrine/autocrine fashion. In our institution, we have undertaken a phase II trial that combines BV upfront with radiotherapy/temozolomide. Interim clinical observation has been accepted for publication. Our current proposal is to use the U87MG glioblastoma cell culture model to examine the mechanism by which BV may potentiate the efficacy of radiotherapy and temozolomide.

Specific Aims:

  1. To establish whether VEGF signaling is modulated by the administration of radiotherapy, temozolomide, and concurrent radiotherapy/temozolomide by measuring VEGF level via ELISA assay in both the conditioned media and the cell lysate.
  2. To evaluate the effects of BV on the cytotoxicity of radiotherapy, temozolomide, and concurrent radiotherapy/temozolomide by quantifying cell survival using clonogenic assay; and elucidating cell death mechanism using TUNEL assay and flow cytometry.

This study will lay the groundwork for understanding the interplay among anti-VEGF, radiotherapy, and temozolomide in the treatment of glioblastoma. The long-term plan of this project is to analyze the roles of anti-VEGF as a radiosensitizer in animal models.

 Brian Yeh, MD - UCLA Radiation Oncology

Brian Yeh, MD
Radiation Oncology
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Los Angeles, Calif

RSNA Research Resident Grant

The Role of TNF-Alpha Signaling in Normal Brain Tissue Response to Radiation

Radiation therapy is an important treatment modality for brain tumors, but the outcome is generally dismal. Most patients with glioblastoma succumb to the disease within a year.  Increasing radiation dose increases the time to recurrence for these patients, but at the cost of increased complications. Patients receiving whole brain irradiation for metastatic tumors also suffer a high rate of neurological complications, which can be severely debilitating. Therefore, an improved understanding of the normal brain tissue response to radiation is critical to increasing the therapeutic benefit of radiation therapy. Until recently, it has been thought that the late delayed effects of radiation therapy are the irreversible result of damage at the time of radiation. However, this paradigm is shifting to one in which the immediate damage at the time of radiation is only the beginning of a cascade of events which results in late radiation injury. Recent preclinical data suggest that TNFR2 plays a radioprotective role in the brain, while TNFR1 may be involved in promoting radiation-induced demyelination. Increased understanding of the mechanism of TNFR2-mediated radioprotection and the relationships between TNF-alpha signaling and the normal brain tissue response to radiation may lead to therapeutic options that can prevent or ameliorate the side effects of radiation therapy to the brain.

The specific aims of this proposal are:

  1. To determine whether radiation-induced acute apoptosis in the various cell compartments of the brain is mediated through TNFR1 signaling and negatively regulated through
    TNFR2 signaling.
  2. To determine if subacute radiation-induced gliosis in the brain requires TNFR2 signaling and is regulated by TNFR1.
  3. To identify downstream mediators of TNFR2-mediated radioprotection and to determine the effect of TNF-alpha signaling modulators on this pathway. The effect of TNF-alpha
    signaling modulation on the incidence of radiation-induced seizures and neurodegeneration will be also analyzed in a mouse model.


Precision-Oriented Radiotherapy for the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer

Written by Dr. Steve P. Lee

Radiation is a powerful tool for cancer treatment. It works by delivering focused energy (i.e., dose) to destroy chemical bonds within the genetic material (DNA) of a cell. Consequently the cell loses its capability to duplicate itself and leads eventually to its death. In principle, the chance of controlling such tumor growth with radiation increases with the amount of dose it receives. Unfortunately, radiation particles cannot distinguish normal cells from cancerous ones, and undesirable damage to normal tissues might occur if care is not taken to precisely localize the dosage onto the intended target. This is of particular importance for cancers of the head and neck, which often mingle with or abut important normal structures that might be similarly sensitive to radiation damage. Read full article.

  Figure 1. The difference in treatment volume coverage by traditional RT vs. PORT. Note that by attempting to spare normal tissues such as blood vessel, nerve or airway (which may be safely treated by traditional RT with relatively lower dose), the border of PORT may inadvertently spare microscopic tumor cells not detected by radiological scans.

The difference in treatment volume coverage by traditional RT vs. PORT - UCLA Radiation Oncology

UCLA Researcher Co-Authors New PET/CT Head and Neck Study

Percy Lee, MD - UCLA Radiation OncologyPercy Lee, M.D., Assistant Professor and Director of the Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) program at UCLA was a co-author with investigators from Stanford University on a study in-press in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics (IJROBP), the top radiation oncology journal.  In this study, 85 head and neck patients received 18-flurodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (18- FDG PET/CT)-guided chemoradiotherapy. High metabolic tumor volume (MTV), as defined by PET, was found to be a poor prognostic factor for disease relapse and survival. Dr. Lee was one of the principal investigators and the first author of a similar study in lung cancer recently published in IJROBP, the very first study of its kind. Read full article.

These results support the use of metabolic information from PET for radiation planning, and suggest that MTV was a more reliable measure of tumor burden and therefore, treatment outcome. At UCLA, we are one of few expert centers that routinely incorporate metabolic information in radiation treatment planning. In addition, we lead in investigating the role of PET/CT in radiation therapy with the ultimate goal of benefiting our patients and improving their outcomes.

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