The Intersection Of Immunotherapy And Radiation Therapy

CANCER’S NEW FRONTIER 

Cancer affects nearly every family in the United States. Surgery and chemotherapy are commonly used to treat cancer, and more recently, immunotherapy has allowed doctors to manipulate a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. Radiation therapy is an essential part of treatment which is targeted to shrink or eliminate tumors.

1. RADIOSURGERY:
Advances in technology have allowed us to shape the radiation dose around the tumor while sparing normal tissues. This in turn permits the delivery of a dose high enough to kill the tumor equivalent to surgical removal but without anesthesia or scalpel. At the Innovative Cancer Institute, we have the most advanced and precise form of radiosurgery available, the Varian Edge®, to maximize the chance of cure while minimizing side effects.

2. METASTASIS:
It used to be thought that the spread of cancer to another site in the body represented incurable disease which could only be treated with chemotherapy. It is now known that certain patients with limited metastasis can be cured of their cancer by targeting the tumors with focal treatments including radiosurgery.

3. IMMUNOTHERAPY:
Radiation can stimulate the immune system to specifically fight tumor cells. The combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy acts synergistically to enhance anti-tumor cell killing. Recent studies show that the boost to the immune system is maximal with the delivery of radiosurgery to tumors.

Dr. Melotek is a South Florida native and radiation oncologist who recently joined the Innovative Cancer Institute. His prior research at the University of Chicago focused on the combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of lung and head and neck cancers as well as other solid tumors.

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