Cutting edge treatments require a cutting edge research and development team. Here are some of the projects we’re working on in the areas of clinical research and physics and computing. Our work results in improved clinical outcomes for our patients. (Note: The Division of Cancer Biology maintains its own web presence through the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.)

Clinical Research

Includes retrospective studies looking for patterns in patient treatments and outcomes, operations and patient safety research, dose measurements using theoretical “phantoms” (like crash test dummies, but for radiation dose), treatment-related software development, clinical trials and more.

Carbon Nanotube-Based Radiation Systems

This research program is headed by Dr. Sha Chang and involves development of novel radiation research and clinical devices based on carbon nanotube (CNT) field emission technology (FE).

Treatment Planning

New treatment and verification techniques help us to be more effective at tumor elimination while limiting normal tissue damage. We study all aspects of the treatment process from measuring the radiation coming from the treatment machines (QA) to comparing treatment options for effectiveness and safety.

Image Deformation and IGRT

Sophisticated IGRT (Image Guided Radiotherapy) techniques require us to deform CT, MR and US images to match previous images of the same patient or to match an atlas in order to transfer atlas-embedded information back to a specific patient’s images. Although no one has solved this complex issue in the general case, specific solutions enable us to treat some tumors more effectively than ever before.

Recent Departmental Publications

Department of Radiation Oncology publications for the last 6 months authored by faculty, residents, allied health, medical, graduate and postdoctoral students, and professional staff.

PLanUNC License

PLanUNC (sometimes pronounced “PLUNC”) is an in-house Radiotherapy Treatment Planning (RTP) system that has been used for clinical treatment, research development, and education since 1986. PLanUNC was initially forged by the joint effort of medical physicists, computer scientists, and radiation oncologists to pioneer the field of 3D image-based treatment planning. Since it is designed as a modular system — a suite of small cooperating programs — it is both flexible enough to quickly adapt to changing clinical needs by plugging in new features, and yet is robust enough to lock in features required for clinical safety. This “Damascus Steel” design principle makes PLanUNC an ideal platform for both clinical and research needs. Continuous enhancements and improvements have made PLanUNC into a powerful and safe clinical-grade tool that we rely on for patient treatment, research, and education at UNC. PLanUNC is a NIH supported public research and education tool that has been utilized free-of-charge for research and education by many cancer institutions worldwide. Institutional licenses can be obtained by submitting the license form below along with a short statement of intended use. (UNC requires this form in order to acquire a copy of the PLanUNC Treatment Planning System source code.)