My career goal as a radiation oncologist is to improve lung cancer outcomes through basic, translational and clinical investigation. I am currently dedicating 75% effort toward research and 25% in the clinic performing consultations and treating thoracic oncology patients.
My career goal is to improve treatment for patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma (LA-NSCLC). Approximately 60,000 patients are diagnosed annually in the United States with LA-NSCLC, from which deaths exceed those from all stages of any other cancer. Standard treatment involves a combination of radiotherapy (RT), chemotherapy and/or surgery. The poor survival of patients with LA-NSCLC is in part due to an inability to give enough radiation to eradicate the tumor without damaging surrounding vital organs including the uninvolved lung, heart, esophagus and spinal cord. Despite advances in RT targeting technology, these organs cannot be fully spared due to tumor invading or coming near them. Efforts are therefore focused on increasing the ability of RT to selectively kill cancer cells using radiosensitizing drugs, or to protect the surrounding normal tissues. Other efforts include characterization of tumor molecular subtypes that indicate higher doses of radiation for locoregional control, or patient factors that correlate with higher toxicities.