Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities but has a sustained history of contributions to the medical sciences. In 1995, UCI gained international prominence when Dr. Frank Sherwood Rowland, a professor in chemistry and Dr. Frederick Reines, a professor in physics, each won the Nobel Prize in their respective fields. It was the first time two people won the prize in the same year in two different fields at the same public university. Seven years later, Dr. Irwin Rose, a researcher at the UCI medical school was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discoveries related to cell growth.
Currently, the Department of Radiation Oncology at UCI ranks among the top programs in the country with respect to grant funding with a portfolio of nearly 15M dollars and is the home to the NIH’s only multi-institutional P01 dedicated to the investigation of FLASH radiotherapy. The UCI faculty were also among the first to discover how stem cells could be used to preserve cognitive functioning among patients receiving brain irradiation; and our scientists have worked with collaborators at National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) to study the effect of cosmic irradiation on space travel.
The clinicians at UCI were among the first in the nation to use respiratory-gating during radiation, a process that allows real-time tracking of radiation to avoid exposure to such structures as the lungs and heart. The UCI faculty also conducted some of the initial studies on AlignRT, a three-dimensional stereo camera unit that tracks the skin surface so that radiation can be delivered with enhanced precision while eliminating the need for tattoos or additional x-rays.
UCI Radiation Oncology continues to take pride in being on the cutting-edge of clinical medicine and pioneering many of the future treatments which will one day become available to other hospitals. To highlight some of the active research occurring, our faculty are conducting research on such topics as: intra-operative radiation for hepatobiliary tumors; high-dose stereotactic radiotherapy for pancreatic and lung tumors; and de-escalation therapy for HPV-positive head and neck cancer.