Breakthrough radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer

Providence Cancer Institute of Oregon is the first facility in the Pacific Northwest, and the first community medical center in the country, to offer MRI-guided radiation therapy for patients with pancreatic cancer and other malignancies.

This breakthrough treatment is delivered by state-of-the-art MR Linac technology, which provides real-time visualization of the treatment field. With pin-point accuracy, radiation oncologists can monitor changes in the shape of the target and surrounding organs during treatments to maximize tumor killing and minimize damage to normal tissue.

A phase II study is underway to evaluate clinical outcomes of patients receiving MR Linac therapy for pancreatic cancer:

Stereotactic Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Guided On-table Adaptive Radiation Therapy (SMART) for Patients with Borderline or Inoperable Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

In this prospective study known as SMART, patients receive MRI-guided stereotactic radiation therapy (SBRT) with on-table adaptive re-planning when clinically indicated. Investigators assess grade 3 or greater GI toxicity and median overall survival compared to patients who receive more conventional radiation doses without frequent dose adaptation. A prior study of MRI-guided SBRT with adaptive re-planning showed clinical benefit in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Enrollment in the SMART study is completed and research is ongoing under the leadership of Kristina Young, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of Radiation Oncology at Providence Cancer Institute. She also serves as an assistant member at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence, where she leads the Tumor Microenvironment Laboratory. Dr. Young's lab investigates radiation effects on the tumor microenvironment and how to enhance the local and systemic effects of radiotherapy.

In a companion study to the SMART trial, Dr. Young leads an investigator-initiated correlative trial, called Tracking Outcomes and Toxicity of Patients Treated on the MR Linac, to evaluate whether MRI-derived biomarkers correlate with local cancer control.

The researchers hypothesize that patients treated on the MR Linac will receive higher doses of radiation to the tumor, lower doses to adjacent critical structures, have improved local control, and reduced toxicity.

See more studies for patients with pancreatic cancer

Providence Cancer Institute currently has more than 10 studies open for patients with pancreatic cancer, and more than 30 studies for multiple types of cancer. New studies are added frequently. View all cancer clinical studies open for enrollment.

A team approach for comprehensive care

Providence Cancer Institute is home to the Elsie Franz Finley Radiation Oncology Center and Providence Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Cancer Program.  Together, these programs serve as a "single-source" center where patients with liver and pancreas disease receive a comprehensive approach to cancer care with a wide range of world-class cancer therapy modalities. 

Our multidisciplinary team of experts, coupled with leading-edge technology, creates the environment for superior treatment outcomes for cancer patients. Our physicians and staff are dedicated to delivering compassionate care for our patients while offering support to their families. Patient-centered care is our philosophy at Providence Cancer Institute.

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