Washington University has New Department of Radiation Oncology

Darrell E. Ward

Sept. 12, 2001 – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has established a new Department of Radiation Oncology. The new department, formerly a division within the School's Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, will provide cancer-related patient care, teaching and research. The department will work closely with the Mallinckrodt Institute and with the new Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

"We are really excited about this development," says Carlos Perez, M.D., professor of radiation oncology and chairman of the new department. "We look forward to working even more closely with the Siteman Cancer Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the School of Medicine to strengthen the medical center's comprehensive oncology programs and to enhance our leadership in oncology in the Midwest and in the nation. Our historical ties with the Mallinckrodt Institute will continue and be a strength as we move forward."

The move reflects the ascending role of radiaiton oncology in the treatment of cancer. "Radiation oncology is more important than ever in cancer care," says Perez. "The growth has come because computers have become faster, cheaper and more efficient; because advances in physics and electronics enable us to plan and deliver treatment much more precisely and efficiently; and because radiation therapy significantly improves outcomes in patients with cancer."

With more than 200 faculty and staff, the Department of Radiation Oncology is one of the largest and most well-developed in the country, says Perez.

"It is timely for this excellent program, previously a department in essence, to receive departmental status to enhance its opportunities for expansion of its clinical, teaching and research missions," says William A. Peck, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

The new department has four divisions. The Clinical Division provides treatment for patients and conducts clinical trials; the Cancer Biology Division conducts research relating to the effects and interactions of radiation, heat (hyperthermia) and cytotoxic agents on cells; and the Physics Division is responsible for treatment planning, equipment development and research on the physics of radiation oncology. Last, the Administration and Information Systems Division maintains computer services and information systems, including a large database of treatment information.

Perez is excited about the future. "We're going to have one of the most beautiful, convenient clinical facilities in the country with the new Siteman Cancer Center." The cancer center will be located in the new Center for Advanced Medicine building at the corner of Forest Park and Euclid avenues.

Perez has been on the faculty of the School of Medicine for 36 years. With this change, he becomes a member of the Executive Faculty of the School of Medicine. Perez postponed his announced retirement to accept the role as head of the new department.


The full-time and volunteer faculty of Washington University School of Medicine are the physicians and surgeons of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Washington University School of Medicine, Office of Medical Public Affairs, Washington University School of Medicine at Washington University Medical Center, Campus Box 8508, 4444 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis MO 63108-2259, (314) 286-0100 FAX: (314) 286-0199

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