Stanford University School of Medicine
FLASH Radiation Therapy and Immune Response in Lung Cancer
Radiation is one of the main treatments for lung cancer. Recent technology advances have made radiation therapy more effective with fewer side effects by precise focusing. This has increased the patients who can receive radiation to try to cure their lung cancer. At Stanford, we are developing entirely new technology for ultra-fast (FLASH) radiation treatment. Near instant treatment that finishes before lung tumors can move from breathing will make radiation therapy even more precise. Surprisingly, our recent laboratory experiments in mice found that FLASH is more effective than standard radiation at killing lung cancer cells while reducing damage to normal organs. We also found signs that FLASH stimulates the immune system to kill the cancer. This suggests that FLASH and immunotherapy may be combined for even more effective and safe treatment. We propose to study how FLASH works with the immune system, and test its ability to enhance the impact of immunotherapy on lung cancer.
Update: We will study novel FLASH radiation therapy in a clinically realistic mouse model of lung cancer using a dosing regimen relevant for ultimate translation to human clinical trials. Because radiation therapy may have synergistic effects with immunotherapy, we will also explore using FLASH along with immunotherapy. We have successfully developed and optimized a unique FLASH radiation delivery platform that will be used for these experiments to provide reliable and accurate control of the radiation doses and delivery speed. If successful, this could create an entirely new paradigm of curative therapy for lung cancer.