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Welcome to the website for the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado Denver, affiliated with the University of Colorado Hospital.

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Radiation Oncology

Quality, Performance, and Innovation in Cancer Care

Welcome to the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Our mission is to provide the highest quality care to patients with all types of cancers and certain benign tumors. The department aims to achieve excellence in professionalism and performance of our services. We seek to create a climate that fosters innovation and allows patients access to the newest cutting edge treatments.

The Department of Radiation Oncology is integrated within the award-winning, nationally celebrated University of Colorado Hospital, within the larger University of Colorado Health system. The University of Colorado Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

 – Brian D. Kavanagh, MD, MPH, FASTRO​, Professor and Chair ​​​​​


In The News...

4/24/17 - Karam awarded RSNA grant​​
Dr. Sana Karam​ and her lab team have been awarded a grant from the Board of Trustees of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The project that will be supported, entitled “Combined Inhibition of EphB4 and EGFR Signaling Enhances Radiosensitization in Head and Neck Cancers”, will focus on novel mechanisms of interaction between radiation and the Eph family of ligands and receptors, an area in which Dr. Karam has become a leading expert. “I am excited that we will have an opportunity to fill in a few important gaps in our understanding of the best way to combine radiation and certain new agents in head and neck cancer,” says Dr. Karam. “We are moving very close to a point where we will be able to offer this type of combination to patients in clinical trials, and I think there is reason to expect we can improve tumor cure rates for certain groups of patients."

4/21/17 - Alexeev wins AAPM Junior Investigator Competition
Dr. Timur Alexeev, a post-doctoral fellow of the Medical Physics section, has been selected as the winner of the Junior Investigator Competition of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Annual Meeting for his abstract, “Development and Evaluation of a Two Dimensional Antiscatter Grid for CBCT”. The work was accomplished under the supervision of Dr. Cem Altunbas, who is principal investigator of an NIH R21-funded project addressing the challenges of how to improve cone-beam CT scanning (CBCT), an imaging technique relied upon heavily for high precision image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT).  “Dr. Alexeev’s work has demonstrated important fundamental principles in this study and established that our grid technique improves image quality,” notes Dr. Altunbas, who adds, “and this work lays a foundation for implementing the new techniques in the clinic in the near future."

2/15/17 - Robin’s Research Cited in New York Times Article on Disparities

A recent publication authored by Dr. Tyler Robin, PGY-3, Department of Radiation Oncology, has received national attention. The article, “Disparities in standard of care treatment and associated survival decrement in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer”, was cited in a New York Times article addressing disparities in cervical cancer treatment. 

Senior author Dr. Christine Fisher commented, “Dr. Robin's study revealed a very important and concerning point. Fewer than half of patients with locally advanced cervix cancer receive appropriate standard therapy for their cancer, which should include both external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy. Patients were more likely to receive substandard therapy if they had lower incomes, only Medicaid insurance, or treatment outside of a comprehensive cancer center. We hope that by illuminating the problem we can educate patients and providers outside of major centers that referral to a comprehensive cancer center like ours is important if the appropriate expertise and technology for proper treatment is unavailable locally. Cervix cancer can be challenging to treat but is potentially curable, and it is important that the oncology community rallies to the support of the vulnerable populations of patients who need access to standard care.  Our ultimate hope is for elimination of cervical cancer through vaccination and screening, but, until then, access to best care is critically important for cervix cancer patients. 

Co-authors of the study included Dr. Arya Amini, PGY-5, Department of Radiation Oncology; Dr. Tracey Schefter, Department of Radiation Oncology; and Dr. Kian Behbahkt, Director of Gynecologic Oncology.

1/27/17 - Stokes selected for prestigious reviewer apprenticeship program​
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Dr. William Stokes​ has been selected into the Reviewer Apprenticeship Program of the journal Practical Radiation Oncology, one of the three official journals of the American Society for Radiation Oncology. Dr. Stokes was among the 6 residents chosen from among nearly 100 applicants from across the United States to participate in the inaugural year of the program. In his role in this initiative, Dr. Stokes will review at least six papers over the next twelve months and will receive individual mentorship and feedback from the journal editors.

12/1/16 - Burr awarded GME Training Administrator Certification
Jennifer Burr, C-TAGME, now current Office Manager, has recently completed the National Board for Certification for Training Administrators for Graduate Medical Education Programs (TAGME). Jenn has served for 11 years as the Radiation Oncology Residency Program Coordinator, a GME-certified training program. The residency program began in 2003 and has now produced 18 graduates who have moved on to positions in community and academic practice

10/25/16 - VIDEO - Radiation Research May Shorten Treatment Time For Certain Breast Cancer Patients

Research underway at the University of Colorado Hospital by Dr. Christine Fisher​ could shorten the course of radiation therapy for certain breast cancer patients. The new clinical trial is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Click here to read more on CBS4 Denver.

9/6/16 - Lanning joins lab and clinic teams at UCH
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Ryan Lanning, MD, PhD​,​ joins the faculty of the Department of Radiation Oncology this month. Dr. Lanning attended the University of California-Irvine on a Regents Scholarship, receiving a BS in Chemistry and Biology. He worked for a year in the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic as an optical engineer, where he played a key role in the development of frequency domain photon migration spectroscopy. He then began an MD-PhD program at Harvard Medical School and MIT, where he worked in the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories under the tutelage of Dr. Rakesh Jain. His thesis was entitled “Tumor vasculature and microenvironment during progression and treatment: insights from optical microscopy”. He was the recipient of several awards during this period including a Whitaker Foundation Fellowship a DoD Pre-Doctoral Training Fellowship. After an internship in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he completed a residency in Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he continued his translational scientific work alongside his clinical training. By means of a technology dissemination grant, Dr. Lanning’s laboratory will provide the Cancer Center with an entirely new modality of non-invasive, real-time tumor physiology and vessel architecture monitoring with broad applicability for studies across the spectrum of solid tumors. Dr. Lanning’s clinical focus will be in the treatment of Head and Neck Cancers, just in time for the launch of the new HNC multidisciplinary clinic.​

7/1/16 - Ridings named "Top Doc" once again

JaneRidings.jpgDr. Jane Ridings has once again been named a “top doc” by Colorado Springs Style magazine. Dr. Ridings is the Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Memorial Hospital in the University of Colorado Health System. She has earned this distinction for several years in a row as a result of her outstanding service in cancer care to the Colorado Springs Community. She has led numerous innovative clinical initiatives at Memorial, including an intra-operative radiation therapy (IORT) program for early stage breast cancer. The 2015 list can be seen here​.

6/13/16 - Jones named Boettcher Investigator; Awarded research grant
Dr. Bernard L. Jones has recently been named a Boettcher Investigator in the Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Awards program. These awards support promising, early-career scientific researchers, allowing them to advance their independent research while competing for major federal and private awards. Dr. Jones will receive a $235,000 grant to support research on improving motion management and planning/delivery techniques in pancreatic SBRT

6/10/16 - Mullen lacrosse gives toys to pediatric cancer patients
When Nic Mayhan’s mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor, he ended up spending more time than any teenager should in the Department of Radiation Oncology at University of Colorado Hospital. Luckily his mom’s tumor wasn’t life-threatening. But Nic got to talking with his mom’s radiologist, Arthur K. Liu, MD, PhD. In addition to providing adult radiation treatments, Dr. Liu is the primary radiation oncologist for kids with cancer seen at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Dr. Liu works with roughly 150 young cancer patients every year and after every visit, these kids get to choose a toy from a special trunk Dr. Liu keeps in his office. Continue reading...​

5/19/16 - Karam awarded ASTRO Abstract Award + Q&A from
Dr. Sana Karam​ has been awarded the Basic/Translational Science - Junior Investigator Radiation and Cancer Biology in the Biology category for her abstract titled, “Enhanced Therapeutic Radiosensitization by Targeting EphB4 Receptor in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma." Dr. Karam will present her research in Boston at this years' ASTRO annual meeting. The ASTRO Annual Meeting is being held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center September 25-28, 2016.

Dr. Karam also recently sat down with Garth Sundem of​ for a short Q&A about her two years at the University and her life before Radiation Oncology. You can read the full Q&A here: SanaQandA.pdfSanaQandA.pdf

5/13/16 - Hardenbergh named a Trustee of the American Board of Radiology ​
Unknown.jpegDr. Patricia Hardenbergh, Associate Clinical Professor of Radiation Oncology, has been named a Trustee of the American Board of Radiology (ABR). Established in 1934, the ABR oversees the certification and ongoing professional development of specialists in Diagnostic Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Medical Physics. The ABR’s mission is to serve patients, the public, and the medical profession by certifying that its diplomats​ have acquired, demonstrated, and maintained a requisite standard of knowledge, skill, and understanding essential to the practice of these specialties. The comprehensive ABR certification process includes continuing educational requirements, professional peer evaluation, and examination. Dr. Hardenbergh’s track record of contribution to the ABR includes service as an oral boards examiner and the creation and operation of, an award-winning web-based peer review service that can double for radiation oncologists as a means of fulfilling the quality-improvement requirements of maintenance of ABR certification.