Speakers

Dr. Abigail T. Berman, MD

Dr. Abigail T. Berman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. She did her undergraduate work at Harvard University in chemistry and medical school and residency at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, where she also received her Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology with a focus on clinical trials. She specializes in the treatment of patients with lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies with photon and proton radiation therapy. Dr. Berman leads research programs in thoracic radiation oncology, including a focus on the microbiome and immunotherapy combined with re-irradiation. Dr. Berman has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Radiologic Society of North America. She is the Associate Director, Clinical, of the Penn Center for Precision Medicine and Program Director of the Radiation Oncology Residency. She is the NCCN steering committee representative from Penn, serves on several NCCN panel committees, and is a member of the Penn Thoracic Cancer Service Line and other workgroups at ITMIG, ASTRO, and PCG.

Dr. Charles B. Simone, MD

Charles B. Simone, II, MD, FACRO is Research Professor and Chief Medical Officer of the New York Proton Center and Full Member in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  He is an internationally recognized expert in the use of proton therapy to treat thoracic malignancies and for reirradiation, and in the development of clinical trial strategies and innovative research in thoracic radiation oncology and SBRT. 

 Prior to coming to NYPC, Dr. Simone was Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Director of the Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Program, and Director of Clinical Research and Operations in Radiation Oncology at Penn.  He was then appointed Medical Director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, and at University of Maryland, he served as Chair of the Clinical Research Committee for their Comprehensive Cancer Center, proton therapy Fellowship Director, and Director of the Stereotactic Radiation Therapy Program.  He completed his undergraduate and medical school training at the University of Pennsylvania, internship in internal medicine, and residency training in radiation oncology at the National Cancer Institute, where he served as chief resident. 

 Dr. Simone is a National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Defense funded investigator who has published >365 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters and given >225 scientific lectures to national/international audiences.  He is the national Principal Investigator or Co-Chair of 7 NIH-funded cooperative group trials (4 NRG Oncology, 1 SWOG, 1 ECOG-ACRIN, 1 PCG) and three-time winner of the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology Educator of the Year Award.  In the proton community, Dr. Simone Chairs/Co-Chairs the PCG Executive Committee; PCG Lung Committee; PTCOG Gastrointestinal Subcommittee; and PTCOG Skull Base/Central Nervous System/Sarcoma Subcommittee.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of Annals of Palliative Medicine and on the Editorial Board of Journal of Clinical Oncology .

Dr. Joe Y. Chang, MD

Joe Y. Chang (MD, PhD, FASTRO) is a tenured Professor, Director of Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR), MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is the Fellow of American Society of Radiation Oncology and received the award of “The Best Doctors in America”.  He is the current chair of thoracic subcommittee for international Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG),  chair of American Radium Society/American College of Radiology (ACR) Thoracic Appropriateness Use Criteria Committee, NCCN Thoracic Guidelines Voting Committee Member; He served as a Section Chief of MD Anderson Thoracic Radiation Oncology, senior associate editor for International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics (Red Journal) and is an editorial board members for several international medical journals. He is an international renowned expert in radiotherapy and one of the pioneers in the field of proton therapy, stereotactic radiotherapy and immunotherapy in lung cancer.  He is PI or Co-PI for many institutional, national and international clinical trials in lung cancer. He published more than 250 peer-reviewed SCI articles in the top oncology journals including Lancet Oncology, Nature Review Clinical Oncology, JAMA Oncology, JCO, JAMA Surgery, JAMA Network Open, Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer, Journal of Thoracic Oncology, Intentional Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics and etc. He edited 5 books and published 24 book chapters related to image-guided radiation therapy, stereotactic ablative radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy, proton therapy and combined immunotherapy with radiotherapy. 

Dr.  Zhongxing  Liao, MD

Dr. Liao's research activities aim to improve the therapeutic ratio of radiotherapy for thoracic malignancies through translational research. Specifically, her efforts focus on personalizing chemoradiotherapy for lung cancer by reducing treatment-related toxicity, and increasing cancer cure rates by using predictive biomarker strategies and advanced radiation delivery technology. She has continued her leadership role in conducting practice-changing clinical trials locally and nationally.  She has led the first prospective randomized trial comparing PSPT and IMRT for locally advanced NSCLC, she is the national PI of RTOG 1308 phase III randomized trial comparing photon and protons, as well as the PI for imagine guided IMRT or IMPT with simultaneously integrated boost and concurrent chemoradiation for NSCLC. 

 Dr. Liao's translational and clinical research activities have been highly productive, as evidenced in her CV by publications in highly respected peer-reviewed scientific journals, by invitations to write review articles, and by invitations to national and international meetings as keynote or panel speakers. She has accumulated rich experience and knowledge, developed leadership skills and effectiveness to conduct critical research projects and corporate trials. Dr. Liao anticipates that her research will continue its success as many completed projects mature with results presented to and accepted by the international scientific community, and ongoing projects progress smoothly.

Dr. Mark Pankuch, MD

Mark Pankuch is currently the Director of Medical Physics at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center where he oversees medical physics related operations for the proton center and 4 nearby photon centers within the West and North regions of Northwestern Medicine.  The proton center has been treating patents since 2010, with over 5000 patients treated thus far.  Over the past several years, Dr. Pankuch has given numerous presentations on the topics of Proton Therapy at the local DOE labs, professional meetings, and vendor sponsored educational talks. He currently involved in research projects including funded collaborations in proton imaging.  Dr. Pankuch is currently acting as the co-chair for the physics committee in the multi-institutional PCORI study randomizing protons vs. photon for stage 3 breast cancer.  He also plays an active role in the Proton Collaborative Group and is currently acting as the physics chair. 

The NM Proton Center is one of very few centers that treats a portion of their proton patients in the seated position.  The center has an in-room CT scanner that is capable of acquiring fan beam CT’s in the upright position. This “horizontal plane” scanner enables seated treatments to brain, ocular melanoma and thorax patients.  A dedicated thoracic chair was development specifically for lung and mediastinal treatments. The NM proton center has observed the expected anatomical differences between supine and seated set-ups.  Considerable dosimetric benefits are often obtained in the seated position for lung cancer patients.  

Dr. Ramesh Rengan, MD

Dr. Ramesh Rengan is Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Professor of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and holds a joint appointment as faculty of the Integrated Immunotherapy Research Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Rengan’s clinical interests include thoracic malignancies, melanomas (including ocular melanoma), renal cell carcinoma, and prostate cancer. He has clinical expertise in the use of proton beam therapy in the management of localized and locally advanced solid tumors. His current research focuses on approaches to improve the therapeutic ratio in solid tumors to ionizing photon or proton radiation. Dr. Rengan’s active areas of current research are pre-clinical and clinical strategies to utilize radiation to trigger an anti-tumor immune response in patients with advanced solid malignancies and has a strong interest in healthcare disparities and expanded access to radiation treatment in low-resource environments.

Prof. Xiaorong Ronald Zhu

X. Ronald Zhu, PhD, is a professor of Department of Radiation, Proton Therapy Center Physics Director at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  He is a board-certified Radiation Oncology Physicist.  Dr. Zhu is a fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and currently chairs the Working Group on Particle Therapy of the AAPM Therapy Physics Committee.  He has extensive experience of clinical applications of proton therapy physics.  Dr. Zhu co-edited a book on proton therapy, authored and co-authored 10 book chapters and more than 160 peer-reviewed papers. 

Dr. Jeffrey D. Bradley, MD

Jeffrey D. Bradley, MD, FACR, FASTRO, is executive vice chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine.

As a board certified radiation oncologist, Dr. Bradley specializes in thoracic malignancies with a focus on stereotactic body radiation therapy and proton beam therapy. He is principal investigator of a number of transformational clinical trials for lung cancer patients.

Prior to Emory, Dr. Bradley was at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where he was the S. Lee Kling Endowed Professor of Radiation Oncology, clinical director of the Kling Proton Center, and chief of the Radiation Oncology Thoracic Cancer Service. At Barnes Jewish in St Louis, he led the development of the first single room proton center in the world.

Dr. Bradley is Lung Cancer Committee Chair at NRG Oncology, the largest of the four adult National Clinical Trials Network Groups supported by the National Cancer Institute. He was named a fellow of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in 2017. He served as chair of the lung/sarcoma section of oral boards with the American Board of Radiology for 10 years. He is also a founding member of the Particle Therapy Oncology Group of North America.

Dr. Bradley also holds professional memberships with American Society for Radiation Oncology, American Society for Clinical Oncology, and International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

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