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Accelerating Radiation Oncology Research: Celebrating Impact in May

By Ashlee Droscher, Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI)
Posted: May 2, 2023

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:

  • doctor working
    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.

Topics:  ROI
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