One of the great benefits of receiving cancer care at an academic health center like UF Health is patient access to the most advanced medical research, treatments and technologies. As an academic health center, our clincian-scientists participate in research that has a direct impact on improved patient outcomes, and access to the very latest cancer-killing technologies and drugs. This unusual combination of research, technology and advanced patient care results in better outcomes and quality of life for our cancer patients and their families.
Some of the notable and recent UF Health cancer research and treatment achievements include:
- Pioneering the technique to treat lung tumors using chemical ambolization (intra-tumor injection of chemotherapy drugs via minimally invasive bronchoscopy) directly targeting tumors and sparing patients from the toxic effects of chemotherapy; Shands is the only institution in Florida providing this option to cancer patients.
- Becoming the first institution in the state to offer Intrabeam intraoperative radiation therapy technology to treat early stage breast cancers-eliminating the need for many breast cancer patients to undergo weeks of whole breast irradiation. UF Health Cancer Center Director Dr. Paul Okunieff was one of the inventors of the Intrabeam technology and was the first to use it to treat brain tumors.
- Being the first in the world to establish a Multidisciplinary Metastatic Disease Program to conduct clinical trials to establish standards of care to successfully treat metastatic cancer with limited spread.
- Establishing new drug discoveries using X-ray Crystallography and the UF College of Engineering "Super Computer" to map how compounds interact with cancer proteins. One such drug discovery is a new chemotherapy for a highly deadly form of childhood leukemia.
- Providing patients throughout the Southeastern United States and beyond with access to proton therapy; one of the newest, least invasive tools in cancer treatment today. The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute has delivered more than 120,000 proton therapy treatments to more than 3,500 patients and is now treating patients with cancers of the head and neck, base of the skull, lung, sarcoma, pediatrics, prostate, pancreas, pituitary, central nervous system and Hodgkin lymphoma.
Other advanced treatments and services available include:
- Breast cancer - MRI-guided needle biopsy, intraoperative margin analysis, breast reconstruction, and genetic counseling
- Bone and soft tissue cancers - Limb-conserving surgery and radiofrequency ablation techniques
- Brain tumors - Radiosurgery and new medical oncology treatments
- GI cancers - Minimally-invasive Whipple procedure (Pancreaticoduodenectomy), radiofrequency ablation and chemoembolization of liver tumors, and minimally invasive or laparoscopic resection of the colon, rectum, pancreas and other areas of the gastrointestinal tract
- Gynecologic cancers - Fertility preservation, reconstructive surgery and genetic counseling
- Blood cancers - Bone marrow transplant, stem cell transplant, biological therapy and maintenance therapy
- Lung cancer - Video-assisted thoracic surgery, endobronchial ultrasound, interventional bronchoscopy and targeted chemoembolization of lung tumors using minimally invasive bronchoscopy
- Metastatic Disease - Advanced chemotherapies, surgical resection and image-guided stereotactic radiosurgical treatments that precisely target metastatic tumors
- Skin cancer and melanomas - Mohs micrographic surgery, electrosurgery and cryosurgery