The Department of Radiation Oncology was created on July 1, 2001, after having been part of the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology for many decades. The department has a broad academic program that focuses on excellence in patient care and the development of new treatment paradigms; innovative research in each of the three divisions of clinical, physics and biology; and teaching for graduate students, medical students, residents in radiation oncology, and allied health personnel. The department is one of the largest, most academically balanced, and best equipped in the country, and it is responsible for all radiation therapy procedures at Washington University Medical Center. Our faculty have gained international recognition for innovative technological advances in physics and treatment planning, biological research, computer applications and clinical investigation.
- Implementation of novel respiratory gating algorithms
- Development of biomarkers of DNA repair capacity of tumors
- Demonstrated the use of proton therapy
- Implementation of first Mevion S250 single-room proton therapy system
- Implementation of real-time MRI guidance for radiation therapy treatment with the ViewRay system (Real-time MRI guidance provides the ability to see tumors move in real time during a patient's entire treatment process. This helps to ensure that tumor targets are hit and that healthy tissue is spared.)
- Acquisition of high-intensity focused ultrasound with MRI thermometry mapping
The Department of Radiation Oncology currently occupies a large and convenient clinical facility on the lower level of the Center for Advanced Medicine. The downtown clinical facility includes nine treatment rooms, three simulator rooms, and a brachytherapy center with two high dose rate treatment units. Furthermore, the facility houses the latest Gamma Knife, the ICON unit. We have advanced treatment planning computer systems for 3D conformal and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. We have six linear accelerators with on-board CT imaging capability. The brachytherapy suite includes capabilities for high dose rate remote afterloading and for image-guided permanent prostate seed implants. Interstitial and external hyperthermia treatments are also available.
In 2013, we implemented a new type of proton treatment facility that involves the use of a superconducting synchrocyclotron mounted on a gantry. In addition, we implemented the world's first MRI-guided radiation therapy treatment program in 2014. In March 2017, all of the Washington University in St. Louis/Barnes-Jewish Hospital Radiation Oncology facilities achieved accreditation for the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Accreditation Program for Excellence (APex). The department provides radiation therapy treatment at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, Siteman Cancer Center-South County, Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, Siteman Cancer Center at Northwest HealthCare, Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, Siteman Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital East, and Alton Memorial Hospital.
Physics faculty have research laboratories and offices on the fourth floor of the Clinical Sciences Research Building plus designated areas adjacent to the clinical facility in the Center for Advanced Medicine building. The Radiation Biology laboratory and faculty offices are housed at the 4511 Forest Park Building, the Wohl Hospital Building and the BJC Institute of Health Building.
Radiation Oncology Research Electives
The Cancer Biology division provides opportunities for graduate students in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) and the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) to train with faculty in the cancer biology research laboratories.
The Department of Radiation Oncology offers a clinical clerkship for medical students that can be selected as an elective through the medical school.
Please visit the Department of Radiation Oncology website for more information about current research in the department.
Post-PhD Graduate Certificate/ Masters of Science in Medical Physics
For course information, please visit the Medical Physics page of this Bulletin.
The Department of Radiation Oncology offers two courses that are open to students in the MD and MSTP (MD/PhD) programs. For course information, please visit the online course listings.
M92 RadOnc 740 Radiation Oncology Clerkship
The four-week clerkship in Radiation Oncology will provide students with the opportunity to participate in the evaluation and management of a broad range of patients referred for consideration of radiation therapy. Clerkship activities will take place at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Siteman Cancer Center complex and at our satellite facilities. Students will conduct patient evaluations under the supervision of radiation oncology department residents and faculty. Students will attend many conferences throughout the weeks of this clerkship, with the workday starting between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. Students will also have the opportunity to attend the appropriate multidisciplinary clinics, follow-up clinics, and multidisciplinary conferences (such as pediatric neuro-oncology, cardiothoracic oncology, lymphoma, GYN tumor conferences, and so on) pertaining to their rotation schedule. Instructional materials are available for students on the rotation. (Students are not expected to purchase any curricular materials for the clerkship.) Student performance will be evaluated by both resident and faculty members who supervise the student over the course of the four-week clerkship.
Credit 154 units.
M92 RadOnc 801 Clinical Radiation Oncology Subinternship
The Radiation Oncology clinical division offers an elective with emphasis on the evaluation, planning, and administration of radiation therapy in patients with malignant tumors. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the natural history of cancer as well as its pathological and biological features. Students will sharpen their clinical skills by participating in the management of cancer patients. Students will be mentored to prepare and lead a department noon conference on the management of a specific patient's care, including literature review and discussion. Students will be expected to prepare for clinical consultations by reviewing patient records and relevant literature, obtaining the patient's history, and performing a physical examination. This will be followed by presenting findings and a proposed care plan to the attending and resident physicians. This course is designed for MS4 students who are entering the Radiation Oncology Match. If a student is an MS4 applying in another specialty but interested in a radiation oncology elective, we encourage them to pursue a two-week special study elective in Radiation Oncology.