The Department of Radiation Oncology is home to a robust team of researchers and clinicians who work tirelessly to advance patient care through research supported by external grant funding, industry partnerships and university-wide collaborative efforts. We recognize that discovery is one of the fundamental missions of academic medicine, and we are committed to supporting our researchers so that advances in cancer care can be made to improve the lives of our patients. An emphasis is placed on collaborative, "team-based" science with the development of relationships with other researchers across the University.
Our clinical faculty are all engaged in the development of clinical trials which have the potential to improve outcomes for patients. Investigator-initiated protocols which focus on improving both survival and quality of life take priority. Several ongoing studies are aiming to "translate" laboratory discoveries into the clinic by incorporating promising new drugs, analyzing molecular markers and/or testing new approaches to therapy for tumors that have been historically difficult to treat. These protocols have involved the implementation of both radiosensitizers and radioprotectants that have been developed at KU. The department is also a full member of the NRG Oncology Group and has historically been one of the leading accrual sites.
Currently, the department has four Ph.D. radiobiologists in addition to a growing ancillary team to support clinical and translational efforts. Approximately 3,158 square feet of laboratory space is available and supports ongoing research in biomarker development, radiosensitizers, stem cell biology and immunotherapy. The department houses a biospecimen repository, small animal irradiator and has access to core resources as an integral part of the NCI-designated, University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Other in-house innovations include the development of a state-of-the-art bio-specimen repository within the department, a real-time bioinformatics registry and a quality/safety program. A new division of the department was recently established consisting of an internal research support team consisting of five full-time personnel including a PhD-level biostatistician, resource/database manager, clinical research coordinator, quality coordinator and grants/regulatory specialist. This team supervises an in-house registry which interfaces between EMR, treatment-planning systems and other patient-reported, outcomes-related databases and has created opportunities for residents to participate with informatics research. Additionally, an in-house survivorship care clinic spearheaded by our nurse practitioners has created unique opportunities for quality of life-based outcomes research. The integration of a full-time palliative medicine service within the department has furthered opportunities for the development of investigative projects.