Research will center on imaging to improve glioblastoma treatment.
A Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher has been awarded a $5 million seven-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study how advanced imaging during treatment may be used to improve radiation therapy for patients with glioblastoma, a deadly brain tumor.
“Glioblastoma is the most common cancer originating in the brain with an average survival of only 18-24 months,” said Eric A. Mellon, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of radiation oncology and biomedical engineering at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and co-leader of Sylvester’s Neurologic Cancer Site Disease Group. “Our goal is to identify glioblastoma patients who are failing radiation therapy during treatment and implement aggressive second-line treatments to improve survival.”
“An experienced specialist in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for brain cancers, Dr. Mellon is the principal investigator for the study, “A Physiologic Adaptive Radiation Therapy Pipeline for Glioblastoma by Daily Multiparametric MRI and Machine Learning.” Dr. Mellon received the highly competitive National Cancer Institute R37 Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) award after his project grant scored among the best in the nation. The MERIT award provides early-stage investigators with five years of research funding and eligibility to extend their grant an extra two years.
Dr. Mellon aims to enroll 100 glioblastoma patients in the study using MRIdian, an advanced technology developed by ViewRay, Inc., that combines daily MRI with radiation therapy. This leading-edge technology, now in active use at Sylvester, will allow Dr. Mellon to conduct daily assessments of the brain cavity caused by the surgical removal of the tumor, and any unremovable tumor.
“The findings from our study will help radiation oncologists deliver the most effective personalized care for glioblastoma patients,” he said. “Our study may also have important applications for treating other types of tumors.”