History of Excellence
The radiation therapy program at the Siteman Cancer Center has an impressive number of firsts in its history. This includes the establishment of one of the world’s first three-dimensional treatment planning services in 1991. Three-dimensional treatment planning allows radiation oncologists and medical physicists to tailor radiation dosage to every type of tumor while delivering lower doses to adjacent normal tissue. This ability is especially important when tumors are located next to sensitive structures such as the heart and spine.
Our program further refined this practice through its use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Beneficial for tumors with unusual shapes, IMRT involves the use of hundreds of small fields of radiation that are superimposed to create intensity-modulated fields that can be fairly complex in shape.
Due in large part to our pioneering work in three-dimensional treatment planning, the national 3-D Quality Assurance Center for multi-institutional clinical trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute was established at Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in 1994. The center, now called the Image-Guided Therapy Quality Assurance Center, provides tools and support for the review of radiation oncology clinical trials.
Our radiation oncology program also was the first in St. Louis and the Midwest to offer:
- Ultrasound-guided, permanent-seed implants for prostate cancer
- High-dose-rate brachytherapy for a variety of anatomical sites
- Stereotactic radiosurgery
- Clinical trials with radioimmunotherapy