Specialized Treatment Modalities

The UK HealthCare Department of Radiation Medicine is a nationally recognized leader in the field of Radiation Oncology. As an academic department, the faculty are well known and considered experts in their fields. The faculty of the Department of Radiation Medicine participate in and play a leadership role in national trials for the advancement of cancer therapy. The goals of the Department of Radiation Medicine are to provide the most optimal radiation therapy available for the cure of cancer with the highest possible quality of life. There are a number of specialized and unique treatment modalities available through the Department of Radiation Medicine to help meet these goals.

  • Total Skin Electron Beam Therapy
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Three-Dimensional Treatment Planning
  • Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy
  • High Dose Rate Brachytherapy
  • Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery
  • GliaSite Brachytherapy
  • Pediatric Radiation Therapy
  • Spatially Fractionated (GRID) Radiation
  • Low Dose Radiation as a Chemotherapy Sensitizer
  • SIR-Spheres® Microspheres treatment
  • TomoTherapy®
  • Total Skin Electron Beam Therapy

    This technique allows the delivery of high doses of radiation to the entirety of the skin surface without treatment of the underlying tissues and organs. This methodology is particularly useful of the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (mycosis fungoides), and other rare lymphomas. The Department of Radiation Medicine has more than 15 years experience in providing this service.

    Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

    This a form of three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy that focuses multiple radiation beams on a tumor. The intensities of the radiation beams are modulated under the direction of computer-based planning to deliver the highest dose to the tumor and minimizing radiation dose to neighboring tissues and organs. Radiation Oncologists use multi-leaf collimation to modulate the intensity of the radiation beams.

    Three Dimensional Treatment Planning

    The Department of Radiation Medicine has a dedicated CT (computed tomography) scanner for imaging and three-dimensional radiation planning of patients requiring radiation treatment. This facility provides for detailed anatomic imaging for precise optimization of 3-D conformal and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy.

    Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy

    This procedure uses permanent low dose rate radioactive seeds for the treatment of selected tumors. The Department of Radiation Medicine has a very active program in treating prostate cancer by LDR brachytherapy. Using ultrasound guidance, dozens of tiny radioactive “seeds” are carefully placed in the prostate for maximum tumor eradication while sparing the urethra, bladder and other nearby organs.

    High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR)

    This technique delivers high dose radiation through temporarily placed radiation sources. This provides for highly localized radiation to be delivered to a tumor in a rapid and efficient manner. HDR brachytherapy treatments can often be delivered on an outpatient basis. We currently have active clinical treatment programs using HDR for the treatment of pulmonary and gynecological cancers. Patients with other local tumors can be considered for HDR therapy on an individualized basis.

    Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery (GKRS)

    The Gamma Knife procedure uses sophisticated computer based three-dimensional planning based on high resolution CT or MRI scans to focus 201 beams of cobalt-60 radiation onto a tumor or lesion. Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is an important option for patients with abnormal blood vessels of the brain (arteriovenous malformations), brain tumors, or other tumors of the upper head and neck region. This treatment method is accurate to one millimeter or less, does not require surgery and often is performed on an outpatient basis.

    GliaSite® Brachytherapy

    This procedure involves placing a brachytherapy balloon catheter into the operative cavity following surgical removal of a brain tumor. The balloon catheter is later filled with a radioactive solution that causes the balloon to expand and conform to the inner surface of the surgical cavity. Thus, radiation is delivered in a very conformal manner directly to the area containing residual cancer cells.

    Pediatric Radiation Therapy

    Comprehensive radiation oncology services are available for children with malignant diseases. The clinical services include external beam radiation, with photons and electrons as needed. Three-dimensional conformal therapy, IMRT, brachytherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery are employed when warranted. Pediatric anesthesia services are available when needed. A local Ronald McDonald house is nearby to assist families with temporary lodging.

    Spatially Fractionated (GRID) Radiation

    Patients with large advanced cancers are rarely cured using conventional treatments. GRID radiation enables the delivery of high radiation doses to kill cancer cells without destroying normal cells. At the present time, the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital is the only center in the U.S. that provides this treatment modality.

    Low-dose Radiation as a Chemotherapy Sensitizer

    In a continuing effort to improve cancer therapy, faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine have found that ultra-low doses of radiation are capable of enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapy. The clinical results of this combined treatment approach have proven to be so effective it is now frequently employed for advanced abdominal and head and neck cancers. The UK Chandler Hospital has the only cancer center that provides this combined treatment opportunity.

    SIR-Spheres® Microspheres Treatment

    Is a radiation therapy treatment modality currently used for treating certain types of liver cancer. The treatment incorporates radioactive beads called SIR-Spheres microspheres which are applied directly to the liver tumors. The procedure is conducted by a medical team which will include your radiation oncologist.

    TomoTherapy Hi-Art®

    Is a radiation therapy treatment system designed on a CT scanner foundation. It allows clinicians to acquite low-dose helical CT images immediately prior to treatment to help ensure precise patient positioning based on internal anatomy. Then, using the same equipment, treatment can be delivered continuously from all angles, in many small "beamlets". Different doses may then be delivered to different parts of a tumor with a high degree of precision.. It can be used to treat many types of cancer and is often used when the cancer is located near a critical structure, and/or for patients who have been treated previously, and have a reoccurance of cancer.