The Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is an integral part of the Stephenson Cancer Center, Oklahoma’s only NCI-Designated Cancer Center and just one of 71 such centers in the nation. The department provides the highest standard of patient-centered, research-driven, multidisciplinary care with the goal eliminating cancer in Oklahoma and beyond.
The Radiation Oncology service line has a faculty and staff of over 80 individuals. The 16 faculty include 7 radiation oncologists, 6 physicists and 3 laboratory based scientists. They are supported by a skilled staff of dosimetrists, radiation therapists, advanced practice providers and nurses. The department is fully housed within the Stephenson Cancer Center building including all academic and patient care activities. Current equipment includes 4 linear accelerators, Mevion Hyperscan Proton, Perfexion gamma knife, Elekta/Nucletron for HDR brachytherapy and an extensive array of supportive imaging and software for treatment planning.
More than 1900 new patient treatments were initiated in FY 2020. The department, as well as Stephenson Cancer Center, have sustained double digit growth over the past 5 years. The faculty specialize in cancer specific areas of interest and are integral members of the multidisciplinary disease oriented teams which also include surgical and medical oncologists. Each team also has a large research and patient supportive care staff provided by the Stephenson Cancer Center to optimize patient centered, research driven care. This is reflected in the fact that over 20% of all patients cared for at the Stephenson Cancer Center are participating on a clinical trial.
The Department is very engaged in research activities. The Stephenson Cancer Center is a Lead Academic Participating Site (LAPS) for NCI sponsored National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and as such Radiation Oncology plays a pivotal role in this network through enrollment to trials as well as academic participation at group meetings. In addition to the NCTN, the group is very engaged in RTOG Foundation trials as well as numerous phase 1 and investigator initiated trials. Over the past 5 years, 383 patients received radiation therapy as part of their clinical trial. This research effort is fully supported by the Stephenson Cancer Center’s robust clinical trials office.
The physicists program has a long track record of academic excellence with extensive publications. Recent activity between the physicists and advanced imaging researchers has led to NCI funding exploring enhanced treatment planning. Laboratory researchers focus on novel ideas for sensitization strategies for radiation as well as the role of inflammation in colon cancer carcinogenesis.
Academic Training Programs
The Department of Radiation Oncology offers accredited residency programs in Radiation Oncology and Clinical Medical Physics.
The Radiation Oncology Residency is a four-year, ACGME-accredited program. Accepted residents will begin training at the PGY-2 level, following the completion of an internship at an ACGME accredited program of their choice. This is in accordance with the American Board of Radiology requirements for board eligibility. The Residency Program consists of six residents and seven full-time Radiation Oncology faculty physicians. Each faculty physician specializes and performs research in a specific disease site(s). Residents rotate equally among each faculty throughout training, allowing them to receive expert oversight and education while being exposed to a wide variety of malignancies and treatments. Residents receive exposure and practice radiation oncology utilizing numerous treatment modalities, including LINAC-based external beam radiation therapy techniques (2D, 3D, IMRT, VMAT), total body irradiation, Gamma Knife SRS, Brain and body stereotactic treatments (SBRT/SRS), various brachytherapy procedures (low and high dose rate brachytherapy, cervical and endometrial brachytherapy, eye plaque, prostate seeds), and the use of unsealed sources.
The Clinical Medical Physics Residency Program prepares individuals to achieve the American Board of Radiology certification and, therefore, to practice independently as a certified therapeutic radiologic physicist in the Department of Radiation Oncology. The residency program is 24 months in length and includes eight clinical rotations, department chart rounds and journal club seminars, didactic courses, recommended readings, written report assignments, research and oral examinations. Training takes place under the supervision of experienced therapeutic radiologic physicists. The program emphasizes all areas of clinical training required for a therapeutic radiologic physicist to be able to practice in a large, comprehensive treatment facility or a community-based single accelerator facility.
Spencer Thompson, MD