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Radiation Oncology at Colorado State University


Colorado State University has a long and storied history in radiation oncology.  The radiation therapy program was started in 1956 by Dr. W.D Carlson and a young radiology resident, Edward L. Gillette.  Since that time the program not only became the leader in clinical radiation oncology, but served as a focus for research using spontaneous tumors in animals.  Over the years the research program headed by Dr. Gillette and later Dr. Susan LaRue brought in over 25 million dollars.   The Radiation Oncology Suite is named after Dr. Gillette for his many contributions to radiation oncology in both human and animals.

In 1980, Colorado State University commissioned the first linear accelerator dedicated to the treatment of animal patients.  In 1994 that accelerator was replaced with a newer version.  The program progressed over time as updated treatment planning systems utilized available CT and MRI technology to improve localization of radiation dose.  The Radiation Oncology Service works closely with the Clinical Oncology group to provide an integrated approach to cancer therapy.  The program has been fortunate to have the services of the uniquely trained Billie Arceneaux since 1988.  Ms Arceneaux is trained in radiation therapy and dosimetry as well as CT and MRI technology.  Frank Conway is a health technicians who has been trained as a radiation therapist and also provides anesthesia support.  Channa Fuller is a VHT who provides anesthesia support and patient care.  Their long term commitment to the program has been essential.

The Radiation Oncology program supports a residency training program which has produced 7 board certified radiation oncologists.  The program also provides a crucial aspect of training to dozens of diagnostic radiology and medical oncology residents from CSU and other institutions.

In 2007, the year of the Colleges 100th anniversary, the program made a major technological leap by purchasing a new, state-of-the-art Varian Trilogy Linear Accelerator.  This system, the first of its kind in Veterinary Medicine has the ability to sculpt the radiation dose around critical structures such as eyes and spinal cords.  The machine features on-board imaging capability so that patient positioning can be verified, and so treatment plans can be updated as the tumor responds to treatment.  To support the quality assurance required by such a device, CSU hired the first ever Medical Physicist dedicated to treatment and related research of animal patients, Dr. Joseph F. Harmon.   His presence has helped the program seamlessly transition to IMRT, SRS and the other new technologies available with the Trilogy.
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Updated: May 12, 2008