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Last Updated: 09/18/2017

DCTD's Radiation Research Program Convenes Workshop on Utilizing the Biological Consequences of Radiation Therapy in the Development of New Treatment Approaches

DCTD's Radiation Research Program (RRP) convened a workshop on the biological consequences of radiation therapy from September 11-12, 2017 at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (agenda). Called "Shades of Gy," this one and a half-day workshop included thought-provoking presentations related to defining what is a biologically meaningful "radiation dose" in the tumor milieu, as well as broadening the concepts of how radiation is an integral part of precision medicine. The workshop's long-term goal is to build from a combination of well-known reliable models, new cancer biology, and clinical experience to develop new paradigms for clinical cancer care.

In addition to staff from RRP and NCI's Center for Cancer Research (Radiation Biology Branch and Radiation Oncology Branch), more than 50 U.S. and international workshop attendees from the federal government, large academic centers and hospitals, and industry participated in eight speaker and discussion sessions. The session topics included: Dose-effect models; Biophysics; Endpoints for Relative Biological Effectiveness; Biomarkers and response predictors; Clinician's perspective on radiation dose; Exploiting biology; and Partial tumor volume radiotherapy. The following are a few highlights of the discussions:

  1. Compelling tumoricidal dose effects beyond the conventional 2 Gy, as each radiation dose can potentially act "as a drug" with unique and exploitable mechanism of action. This pertains to molecular-target therapy and immunotherapy.
  2. Utilizing biomarkers of radiation therapy in precision medicine to assess both efficacy and normal tissue damage.
  3. Rethinking the target and extent of tumor volume irradiation for maximum curative benefit and avoiding normal tissue toxicity with preservation of organ function.

This workshop sparked discussion of transformational approaches in radiotherapy that will lead to a new era of radiation science and ultimately new approaches to cancer treatment.

Shades of Gy Image