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Research and Technology
“By nature I go
about looking for
the best way to
Doug Dunbar is a mechanical engineer. “By nature I go about looking for the best way to solve problems,” he says. “That’s why I sought out a second opinion.” Doug’s second opinion confirmed his choice of RCC for his cancer care. “This place is a well-oiled machine,” he explains, and since he accessed a variety of RCC’s services, the coordination was important to him.
Most advances in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with cancer have occurred because of research studies called "clinical trials" or "protocols." Clinical trials are designed to help health care professionals test new approaches to the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of cancer.
Improved diagnostic tests and new treatments have led to cures for patients with some cancers. Clinical trials that study the effect of cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and biological therapy have helped health care professionals find better ways to treat cancer.
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A wide variety of imaging capabilities at The Regional Cancer Center contribute to the diagnosis of cancer and the monitoring of treatment progress. A variety of machines and techniques allow doctors to look at the structures and activities inside the body. The technology used depends on the patient’s symptoms and part of the body being examined. X-rays, mammography, Computed Tomography (CT), and Postiron Emission Technology (PET), and combined PET/CT scans are all available at The RCC.
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Radiation oncology services at The Regional Cancer Center include IMRT, IGRT, stereotactic radiosurgery, high dose rate brachytherapy, BAT ultrasound for prostate cancer, 4D planning (respiratory gating) for lung cancers and PET-CT imaging for both diagnostic and treatment planning applications.
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RCC Gets National Attention for Research Activities
A significant amount of time and energy is devoted to identifying matches between clinical trial opportunities and interested, eligible patients. Hundreds of patients can be evaluated by trained clinical personnel before a match is found. Once matched, the enrollment process for trials is often very involved, with data collection and trial registration extending over several weeks. Then regular monitoring of patients and ongoing data collection continue the process. Some trials require that patients be followed for their lifetime, extending the involvement of clinical research staff far beyond trial enrollment.
Active participation in clinical research requires a major commitment of specially trained staff and other support resources. Clinical cooperative research groups rally to keep energy up among group participants who are doing this tedious work in the clinical settings. RCC’s commitment to an active research program shows with success matching patients for one particular trial. RCC’s rank of 7th in the nation, among 197 participating sites was recently published in the RTOG newsletter.