Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Radiation Biology

The Program in Radiation Biology has two major goals:

1. Develop pharmacologic and biologic agents to combine with radiotherapy and chemotherapy to improve local tumor control and prevent metastatic spread

Exploit the Effect of Hypoxia on Tumor Physiology and Response to Therapy: Hypoxia-induced genes are regulated by the HIF family of transcription factors at physiologically relevant oxygen tensions and XBP-1 at more severe oxygen tensions. The role of each of these transcription factors on tumor cell metabolism, growth and metastatic potential is being investigated (Drs. Giaccia, Denko, Cornfield and Koong) and serves as the basis of a P01 entitled “Tumor Hypoxia: Molecular Studies and Clinical Exploitations.”

Identify Biomarkers for Tumor Hypoxia: Secreted markers induced by tumor hypoxia can be used in a blood test to determine prognosis for all patients with solid tumors. Several hypoxia markers identified in our research are being tested in large clinical studies at Stanford to determine if they predict tumor relapse and survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and pancreatic carcinoma patients.

2. Develop new approaches to administer radiotherapy orcombined modality therapy to test in clinical trials

Functional Imaging of Tumors and Selective Delivery of Radiotherapy: Current protocols are being developed to integrate functional imaging and IMRT to selectively escalate radiation doses to cancerous lesions while treating the entire organ volume with the conventional dose. In addition, functional imaging is being used to assess tumor hypoxia, metabolism and changes in gene expression that could also be used with IMRT.

Radiosurgery and New Technologies: Several Phase I and II trials are either ongoing or completed at Stanford Medical Center in which stereotactic radiosurgery is being used to treat brain, head and neck, liver, lung, pancreatic and prostate cancer. The effectiveness of these hypofractionated protocols is being compared with standard fractionated protocols to assess tumor control and quality of life endpoints. In addition to hypofractionated radiotherapy, proton radiotherapy is growing. A subgroup of program members is investigating new ways that protons can be generated and used therapeutically at Stanford.

Radiation Biology Program Membership Roster

Program Directors

Amato Giaccia, PhD

Quynh-Thu Le, MD


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