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Message from the President

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Deborah A. Kuban, MD, FASTRO

Radiation therapy saves and improves the lives of millions of cancer patients each year, but not all who could benefit from this crucial treatment receive it. The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI), ASTRO’s Research Foundation, is working to heighten the critical role of radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer through research and education to change the status quo and ensure more patients have the opportunity of this life-saving technology.
 
With the support of generous donors like you, the ROI has funded $3.7 million in research to help radiation oncology be a leader in the movement toward more patient-centered, quality cancer care. Together, we are awarding grants to some of the best and brightest researchers who are seeking to improve outcomes for our patients by providing practical solutions for radiation oncology’s most pressing challenges.
 
The radiation oncology community responded enthusiastically to the ROI’s most recent call for proposals, demonstrating the great need for and interest in research to identify biomarkers for radiation oncology that will help improve care and outcomes for patients. Using a rigorous peer review process to select from many strong proposals, the ROI chose four outstanding teams to receive grants. With your help the researchers are:

  • Developing a liquid biopsy test to identify which patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer can be effectively treated with bladder-preserving trimodality therapy, a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and limited surgery.
  • Exploring the role of the microbiome in how patients with pancreatic cancer respond to neoadjuvant chemoradiation.
  • Using artificial intelligence to analyze MRIs and predict which patients with brain metastases are most likely to develop radiation necrosis following treatment with stereotactic radiosurgery and immunotherapy.
  • Developing a novel microscale biochip device to monitor disease progression and treatment response in anal cancer that would allow for greater personalization of treatment.

I invite you to learn more about this year’s Biomarkers for Radiation Oncology Award winners and all the talented ROI investigators who are working to advance our field through practical, patient-centered research. Their results include clinical discussion guides that use graphic narrative to help patients better understand what to expect during treatment of breast, lung, and prostate cancer and the RadOnc Toolbox app, a point-of-care resource designed to promote evidence-based practice that is used by hundreds of clinicians daily. Both are free and available online to radiation oncology professionals worldwide thanks to donors like you. Visit the Research Outcomes page to download these practical tools and see a list of published manuscripts resulting from the research that you have helped to support.
 
The Radiation Oncology Institute might also be associated with a more common definition for the acronym ROI, “return on investment.” Since its founding by the ASTRO Board of Directors fifteen years ago, the Radiation Oncology Institute has grown from an idea, to a successful campaign to establish an endowment, and now to a thriving foundation, which provides our supporters with a demonstrable return on their investment. Our investigators have secured more than $2.5 million in follow-on funding for research directly related to their ROI-funded work, and this total will surely grow in the years to come.
 
We are grateful to all the individuals, corporations, private practice groups and academic institutions whose generous donations have made this progress possible. Your continued investment is essential to ensuring the success and growth of our practice-changing research and educational programs.
 
Please explore our website to learn more about how the ROI is forging a path for the future of radiation oncology and how you can be a part of this endeavor.