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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...

05/20/2019 - Dr. Westerly Awareded CCTSI Grant

Dr. David Westerly was recently awared a grant from teh Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences institute. The 2019 Novel Methods Development Pilot Program grant will provide support to Dr. Westerly's project to develop a dense plama focus for medical isotope production. Such a device would be useful for radiation biology and imaging studies.

05/06/2019 - Residents Receive Prestigious Grants
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Drs. Sara Zakem and Adam Mueller recently received a number of noteworthy grants. 

Dr. Zakem was awareded a travel grant for ASTRO Advocacy Day and flew to Washington, D.C. with department chair Dr. Brian Kavanagh to speak with representatives on radiation oncology issues (pictured right).

Adam Mueller Headshot 2016.jpgDr. Mueller was awarded the 2019 RSNA resident research grant. This is a competitive grant, awarding $30,000 over 1 year, for research in radiology and radiation oncology open nationally to residents in both specialties. His project, in the laboratory of Dr. Sana Karam, is studying the effect of radiation on generating fibrosis in pancreatic cancer tumors, with the overall goal of developing new molecular targeted treatments that can make radiation therapy more effective in treating pancreatic cancer.

1/15/2019 - Dr. Miller Recieves ACS-IRG Grant

Dr. Brian Miller, a member of the Medical Physics faculty, has been awarded an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant.  His project will focus on developing next-generation imaging detectors for targeted alpha therapy (TAT). Alpha-emitters hold substantial promise for effectively treating micrometastases and residual disease associated with cancer progression or relapse post-therapy. Alpha-emitters cause localized, irreparable double-strand DNA breaks that lead to immediate cell death with minimal radiation to neighboring normal tissues as they impart large amounts of ionizing energy over a few cell diameters. “Biodistribution information, dosimetry, and dose-response information at cellular levels are key to developing optimal α-particle targeting strategies,” says Dr. Miller. “We are working on developing radiation imaging detectors that will provide the spatial resolution and quantification capabilities needed to advance this exciting therapy for clinical use.” 

10/12/2018 - Dr. Priscilla Stumpf Joins Facultypriscilla.jpg

Dr. Priscilla Stumpf joined the faculty in July as Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Stumpf attended the University of Southern Indiana as a recipient of the prestigious Baccalaureate/Doctor of Medicine scholarship awarding her a seat in the Indiana Univeristy School of Medicine upon completion of her undergraduate training. She received her MD at Indiana University School of Medicine and went on to complete her internship in the competitive Transitional Year program at IU Health Methodist in Indianapolis. She then completed her residency in radiation oncology here at the University of Colorado where she served as chief resident. During this time she has authored original research articles, abstracts, and textbook chapters with a special interest in stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Dr. Stumpf will be providing clinical service at the main campus and elsewhere in other Metro Denver sites. She is especially looking forward to spending time at the Cherry Creek Medical Center when it opens in the Spring of 2020.

08/17/2018 - HIMRT vs IMRT for Localized Prostate Cancer

In a recent sudy, Dr. Thomas Pugh and colleagues compared the effects of hypofractionated, dose-escalated, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (HIMRT) against conventional IMRT for men with localized prostate cancer. After comparing the results of both methods, the team found that HIMRT demonstrated superior cancer control while shortening treatment duration. The full study is available is available to read here.


08/13/2018 - Schefter Wins First Place in Leadville 100

Dr. Tracy Schefter, Director of our Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy program, took first place in the Leadville 100! Pictured right is Dr. Schefter mid-race. Congratulations, Dr. Schefter, on a victory well-earned!

5/11/18 - Goodman named ACR Fellow, will teach again at AACR/ASCO Research Workshop

Dr. Karyn Goodman, Associate Director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Grohne Professor of Clinical Oncology, is one of fifteen radiation oncologists and medical physicists to be approved this year for Fellowship by the American College of Radiology (ACR) Board of Chancellors. She will receive this honor at the 2018 Convocation, to be held in conjunction with the ACR Annual Meeting in May, 2018. Dr. Goodman will also again serve as a member of the faculty of the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop to be held from July 28-Aug. 3, 2018 in Vail, Colorado. The program is a very intensive and covers the essentials of effective clinical trial designs of therapeutic interventions in the treatment of cancer.  Attendees include clinical fellow and junior faculty clinical researchers in all oncology subspecialties, including radiation and surgical oncology and radiology.  Interested participants must go through a competitive application process. The course is very highly regarded in the oncology community, and numerous current University of Colorado faculty members have studied there.

recent study from Dr. Rusthoven and Dr. Robin challenges the use of whole-brain radiation for all small-cell lung cancer patients with brain metastases. The study, recently published in the journal Lung Cancer, compared the outcomes of 5,752 small-cell lung cancer patients who received whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) with those of 200 patients who received stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), finding that the median overall survival was actually longer with SRS (10.8 months with SRS versus 7.1 months with WBRT). Read the full article here

1/26/18 - Thomas awarded American Cancer Society Grant
Dr David Thomas, a member of the Medical Physics faculty, has been awarded an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant.  The project titled “High Resolution X-Ray Induced Acoustic Computed Tomography for In-Vivo Dosimetry and Imaging Applications” is focused on developing a novel imaging system, which will provide real-time in-vivo 3D radiation dose measurements in the body.  “Radiation dosimetry (measuring the delivered radiation dose distribution) is a crucial part of improving the quality of radiation therapy in order to ensure that the correct dose is accurately delivered” says Dr. Thomas. “We hope to develop a system capable of measuring radiation dose in real time, based on the ‘photoacoustic effect’. I’m excited to apply this innovative technology to radiation therapy.


10/5/17 - Dr. Kavanagh delivers Presidental Address at ASTRO 2017 

The ASTRO Annual Meeting is the world's most important meeting for the radiation oncology community, with more than 11,000 people attending each year. This comprehensive meeting covers all the latest developments in radiation oncology, with a full program of scientific and educational sessions that highlight the latest technological advances, while emphasizing the importance of clinical care. The theme for the 59th Annual Meeting was “The Healing Art and Science of Radiation Oncology”. Dr. Brian Kavanagh​ gave the Presidential Address at the Annual ASTRO meeting in San Diego, CA in late September and delivered a bit of poetry, a bit of science, and even a couple of magic tricks framed by an individual patient’s story that set up a discussion of larger narratives that have characterized the field of radiation oncology in recent years. The entire presidential address can be seen at this link.


9/26/17 - CU Team Participates in ASTRO 5K
A team of past and present Physicians, Residents, Therapists, Dosimetrists, and Administrative Staff participated in the ASTRO ROI 5K Run For the Future. Pictured below are all the participants from the race in San Diego on Monday September 25th. Special congratulations to our Physicist Jenia Vinogradskiy for finishing in 3rd place overall as well as organizing the CU team!

9/1/17 - 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 2017 list can be seen here​.