Driving New Advances in Cancer Treatment

Adaptive Radiation Therapy Horwitz
Eric Horwitz, MD, FABS, FASTRO, is chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Using state-of-the-art Ethos technology, Dr. Horwitz and his team are leading a national clinical trial for Adaptive Radiation Therapy.

Leading the Way in National Research

In their mission to translate laboratory discovery into the delivery of groundbreaking cancer treatments, researchers and clinicians at Fox Chase Cancer Center continuously advance every tool available. Consider the extensive work of Dr. Eric Horwitz, chair of the Fox Chase Department of Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Horwitz has developed advanced cancer treatment programs using intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy and brachytherapy since joining Fox Chase in 1997. He is among the many pioneers at Fox Chase in developing new techniques and technologies to minimize off-target radiation injury. Dr. Horwitz and his team are now leading a national, multi-site clinical trial on Adaptive Radiation Therapy as real-time treatment planning for prostate cancer.

This clinical trial, the first of its kind, researches the benefits of Adaptive Radiation Therapy when administering an increased dose of radiation to the prostate along with a lower dose of radiation to the bladder. The goal is to reduce urinary and bowel-related side effects of treatment.

What Makes Adaptive Radiation Different

With most radiation techniques, the treatment plan typically stays the same plan throughout weeks of care. Adaptive Radiation Therapy, however, can adjust to very minor daily changes as it aims to administer the most precise, focused radiation dosage possible to the cancer while lessening exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. It allows real-time adjustments to account for the cancer’s changing responses to radiation, the size and position of the tumor, and the location of nearby organs.

“Adaptive radiation is the marriage of sophisticated treatment planning programs and imaging that takes us one step further in extreme precision and accuracy,” Dr. Horwitz says. “Not only can we adjust the position of the patient, but we can adjust the treatment plan itself to account for what’s in front of us. That helps us achieve our primary endpoint of reduced side effects and a better patient experience.”

First in the Region to Offer Ethos Technology

Dr. Horwitz and others at Fox Chase deliver Adaptive Radiation Therapy through Ethos, a state-of-the-art linear accelerator. By combining a treatment accelerator with a built-in CT scanner and purpose-built treatment planning software, Ethos provides a “living picture” of the tumor and its surrounding tissues and organs. This enables physicians to see if the tumor has shrunk or moved, even by millimeters, so they can adjust and adapt the treatment to reflect current, real-time realities. The result is a “laser-focused” ability to target cancer with lower risk of tissue damage elsewhere.

Fox Chase is first in the region to offer the FDA-approved Ethos technology, and in alignment with its “bench-to-bedside” research approach and strong community impact, it also is the only regional cancer center to explore the possibilities of Ethos using clinical trials for development of even more sophisticated treatments. The clinical trial for prostate cancer will be followed by three other Fox Chase studies this year to research Adaptive Radiation Therapy for patients with oligometastatic disease, pancreatic cancer, and bladder cancer.

A Long History of Treatment Innovation

Dr. Horwitz’s research on Adaptive Radiation Therapy began during his radiation oncology residency more than 25 years ago, when he co-authored one of the earliest published studies on the technique. Since then, his expertise with prostate cancer has become nationally renowned. Under his leadership, Fox Chase became the first in the world to use MRI in radiation treatment planning and the first in the northeastern United States to use high-dose-rate brachytherapy implants.

“Pushing the envelope on how we can prevail over cancer is what drives our mission as an NCI-designated Cancer Center,” Dr. Horwitz says. “That said, successful treatment is not based on technology alone. Battling cancer is one of the most difficult things many people will ever face, and even as we dedicate ourselves to developing and integrating the newest technology for our patients, it is crucial that we as caregivers do not forget this.”

Research, Care, Community

With a long and storied history of breakthrough research, Fox Chase continues to lead the field with seminal scientific discoveries that have key translational implications. The insights gleaned from our laboratory studies can be directly applied to patient care while safely evaluating new approaches to preventing and treating cancer through clinical trials, which may eventually drive standard protocols with far-reaching implications.

That’s the benefit of Fox Chase’s elite standing as an NCI-designated Cancer Center: Our research is led by extraordinarily talented scientists who work in an ideal environment for fundamentally important discoveries. With additional support from our partnership with Temple University Health System’s oncology research, treatment and prevention programs, Fox Chase research makes a world of difference in Northeast Philadelphia and all other communities that we serve.

Become Part of Tomorrow’s Cancer Care Today

As one of the four original cancer centers to receive comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute, Fox Chase Cancer Center has been at the forefront of cancer research for more than 100 years. With a singular focus on cancer, we combine discovery science with state-of-the-art clinical care and population health.

Interested in joining our world-class research team to advance the fight against cancer?

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