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The newly formed Radiation Oncology Institute has so far raised $3 million as part of its initial campaign goal and is on target to achieve its $10 million initial campaign goal.

Fairfax, Va., September 10, 2008 – The newly formed Radiation Oncology Institute has so far raised $3 million as part of its initial campaign goal and is on target to achieve its $10 million initial campaign goal.

Following an initial commitment of $5 million from the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology – $3 million of which is a challenge grant to ASTRO members, individual radiation oncologists have done their part by pledging nearly $1 million in commitments to date. With the critical mass pledged by the physicians and radiation therapy treatment team members, industry partners were invited to join the campaign as well. Radiation therapy equipment manufacturer Varian did so with a leadership commitment of $2 million.

“We all know that radiation therapy is one of the most powerful weapons available to patients fighting cancer, particularly in light of advances made in the last 10 years. Radiation therapy is not only clinically effective, it is cost effective, too,” said Timothy E. Guertin, CEO of Varian Medical Systems in Palo Alto, Calif. “The problem is that the rest of the world doesn’t seem to get it. Many patients, members of the public, referring physicians, surgical and medical oncologists, and policy makers continue to think of radiation as a therapy of last resort, rather than a therapy to be preferred. We are excited to be a part of ROI since its goals are to improve the position and standing of radiation oncology and demonstrate the value and clinical benefits that this important treatment brings to improve and extend the lives of cancer patients every day.”

“Our plan is for ROI to conduct objective research on the specialty to document the value, safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness of radiation therapy with the goal of ‘stepping up’ the profile of radiation therapy within the medical community to ensure that cancer patients have access to the treatments that are best for them, their lifestyle and their cancer,” said Campaign Co-chair Colleen A. Lawton, M.D., FASTRO, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “It is gratifying to see so many of my physician colleagues as well as Varian step up to support this exciting initiative.”

“I am excited that so many of my colleagues believe in the vision of ROI to develop open, objective research that will demonstrate the value that radiation oncology brings to cancer care throughout the world,” said Campaign Co-chair Theodore S. Lawrence, MD, PhD, FASTRO, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) foundation created in 2006 by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Board of Directors to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. ROI strategically funds research on new and existing radiation therapy treatments to identify links between best practices and improved outcomes, to evaluate the efficacy and cost-benefit of radiation therapy and to foster multi-institutional research in radiation oncology. The ROI recently launched the National Radiation Oncology Registry (NROR) pilot program to collect standardized information about patient care to help inform quality improvement initiatives and provide meaningful benchmarks for the radiation oncology field. For more information, visit the ROI website.