Radiation Oncology Institute announces winners of innovative research projects in radiation oncology awards

Projects examine how to better manage cancer patient outcomes using smartphone technology and fitness trackers

ARLINGTON, Va., October 13, 2016 – The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) has selected two promising, early career researchers to receive a total of nearly $100,000 for research on how physicians can use the real-time monitoring and feedback capability of smart technologies to improve outcomes for cancer patients. The two winners of ROI’s 2016 Innovative Projects in Radiation Oncology grant awards were recently recognized at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) 58th Annual Meeting in Boston.

“ROI focuses on funding practical research that addresses the most clinically relevant questions and immediate needs for radiation oncologists and their patients,” said ROI President Deborah A. Kuban, MD, FASTRO. “These two innovative research projects have clear potential to improve the lives of cancer patients by applying technology that we use every day.”  

Geoffrey V. Martin, MD, a fourth-year radiation oncology resident at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was awarded a grant to add patient-reported quality of life measures to a clinical trial assessing the role of aggressive outpatient monitoring using smartphone-connected technology for lung cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy (RT).

The purpose of this study is to investigate the correlation between patient reported outcomes, continuous biometric monitoring (heart rate, pulse oximetry, lung function, etc.), and radiation-induced side effects in lung cancer patients,” Dr. Martin explained. “Our aim is to develop improved methods for predicting radiation toxicity in lung cancer focused on smartphone enabled technology and wearables, which we anticipate will reduce side effects, decrease health care costs, and improve patient quality of life.”

Nitin Ohri, MD, an assistant professor of radiation oncology at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, was awarded a grant to conduct a randomized trial to determine if a simple, pedometer-based walking program can reduce treatment interruptions and thereby improve outcomes among cancer patients being treated with concurrent chemotherapy and RT.

“Preliminary evidence shows that commercial fitness trackers can serve as objective and dynamic monitors of patients’ functional status during chemoradiotherapy and that hospitalizations more commonly occur in patients with low or decreasing step counts,” said Dr. Ohri. “We are now investigating whether instructing patients to meet daily customized step count goals, which will be displayed on their fitness trackers, can reduce the number of missed treatments, decrease treatment-related toxicities and improve quality of life.” 

The grants are intended to provide support for high-risk, high-reward research projects that will impact outcomes in cancer treatment. All awardees must submit a report to ROI at the midterm and conclusion of their research, and they are strongly encouraged to submit their study as an abstract to a subsequent ASTRO Annual Meeting. The ROI Research Committee reviews the grant proposals and makes recommendations to the ROI Board of Trustees, who select the award winners. For more information about ROI’s research and awards, visit www.roinstitute.org/What-We-Do/Research-Projects/Index.aspx .    

For more information or to reach the award winners, contact Liz Gardner, ASTRO's Media Relations Manager, at 703-286-1600 or  liz.gardner@astro.org .



The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) is a nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) foundation created in 2006 by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Board of Directors to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. ROI strategically funds research on new and existing radiation therapy treatments to identify links between best practices and improved outcomes, to evaluate the efficacy and cost-benefit of radiation therapy and to foster multi-institutional research in radiation oncology. For more information, visit www.roinstitute.org .


About Us

ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes two medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (www.redjournal.org) and Practical Radiation Oncology (www.practicalradonc.org); developed and maintains an extensive patient website, www.rtanswers.org; and created the Radiation Oncology Institute (www.roinstitute.org), a non-profit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.