By Ashlee Droscher, Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI)
One million cancer patients will receive radiation therapy each year, yet funding for radiation oncology research is stubbornly low. That’s why the Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) — ASTRO’s research foundation — is focused on accelerating research to help patients with cancer receive the best treatment possible.
May is National Cancer Research Awareness month. This month is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of the innovative research projects funded by ROI donors and to look forward to the increasing need for radiation oncology research. Since ROI was founded 18 years ago, it has funded more than $4 million in research including these projects:
Using immersive holographic displays, David Byun, MD, created a tool to help increase patient knowledge, reduce anxiety and improve patient experience. Dr. Byun, and the team at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, developed CurieUx (Curie User eXperience): an augmented reality patient education platform that uses a hologram-based display to give patients a virtual tour of simulation and treatment rooms. The first patient used CurieUx in March 2022 in a prospective trial to evaluate how using the tool during consultation impacts patient anxiety. Dr. Byun has received interest from industry-level collaborators required to fund future stages of the project.
- Researching the use of machine learning (ML) to direct care and reduce the likelihood that a patient would require an emergency visit or unplanned hospital admission during radiation or chemoradiation was led by Julian Hong, MD, MS, who was awarded the 2021 ROI Publication Award. For Dr. Hong’s current study, he and Isabel Friesner collaborated with Nitin Ohri, MD, a previously funded ROI researcher, to apply ML approaches to data from wearable fitness and step trackers.
Dr. Hong recently received an R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute to test the ML model in diverse health care settings at institutions nationwide while Dr. Ohri is leading an NRG Oncology study to advance his work with wearable devices.
- Improving communication between cancer patients and their physicians is at the center of the work led by Daniel Golden, MD, MHPE. In partnership with the team at the Illinois Institute of Technology Institute of Design, they created the “Communicating the External Beam Radiotherapy Experience” – or CEBRE discussion guides.
With support from ROI, these guides are now available for six disease sites, and some are now available in Spanish. All guides can be downloaded from their website for free. Thus far, the guides have have downloaded in more than 36 countries.
This innovative and patient-focused work is only made possible thanks to the generosity of donors. As a 501c3 public charity, ROI depends on gifts from individuals, companies and organizations who are committed to advancing the impact of radiation oncology.
Join the ROI to advance future innovations by making a donation.
Your gift will be used to fund cutting-edge investigators who are eager to seek new opportunities to accelerate radiation therapy.
Learn more about ROI, including our newly revamped Publication Excellence Award and additional ways to support the charity advancing innovations in the radiation oncology community.
By Colleen A.F. Lawton, MD, FASTRO, ROI President, and Gita Suneja, MD, MSHP, ROI Vice President
The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) is growing and evolving. Our research portfolio continues to expand, and we are proud to support a diverse group of investigators exploring a wide range of topics to advance radiation oncology. ROI relies on the time and effort of our dedicated volunteers to carry out this important mission for the field, and we are grateful to those who are serving now or have served in the past. As ROI looks to the future, we are launching a new process for selecting and appointing volunteers for our committees to improve transparency and ensure a broad range of voices are represented.
ROI is now accepting applications through an open call for volunteers. We are looking for enthusiastic and engaged volunteers for the following committees:
- Development: Be an advocate for ROI and help secure the resources necessary to fund practice-changing research and education. Share the impact of our research with the #radonc community and help develop innovative campaigns to drive forward the ROI mission.
- Research: Shape the ROI’s research portfolio by helping to develop requests for proposals and review applications. All are welcome to apply, but new members with expertise in one or more of the following areas are especially needed: central nervous system malignancies, thoracic malignancies and artificial intelligence.
Job descriptions for each of the committees have been posted on the ROI’s website. Please be sure to review the roles and responsibilities before submitting your application for a committee so that you understand the expectations of service. In the description of your “Areas of Expertise” in your volunteer application, explain what you will add to the committee and your commitment to ROI.
You can volunteer for up to two ROI committees in order of preference, but appointments are expected to be one per ASTRO member to offer as many volunteer opportunities as possible. A limited number of positions are available for each committee. Appointments will be for one year starting January 1, 2023, and can be renewed. ROI is ASTRO’s Research Foundation, and as such, we are a separate 501(c)(3) charity with our own Board of Trustees and committees. However, because of the close affiliation, your volunteer service with ROI can be counted toward your overall service for ASTRO.
We are excited to introduce this new volunteer process and to welcome even more ASTRO members into the ROI community. ROI exists to heighten the critical role of radiation oncology in cancer care through research, and we believe having a more open call for volunteers will allow for greater representation on our committees so that we can better serve the entire field.
If you have any questions about the volunteer process, please email ROI. To volunteer for an ROI committee in 2023, submit your application by September 30, 2022.