Groundbreaking Cancer Treatment Coming to Kansas City this Summer: A Conversation with Bhaswanth Dhanireddy, MD

The Health series is presented by AdventHealth

Cancer treatment is being revolutionized by MRI-guided radiation therapy, and this new treatment will be available in Kansas City for the first time this summer. According to Bhaswanth Dhanireddy, MD, a radiation oncologist at AdventHealth, the new therapy increases accuracy and precision, sparing more normal tissue and potentially lessening side effects. Dr. Dhanireddy, who will begin using MRI-guided radiation therapy after the brand-new AdventHealth Cancer Institute opens in May, shares what this new protocol will mean for patients being treated for cancer. 

How has radiation therapy evolved?
Radiation therapy delivery has evolved in terms of precision and personalization based on imaging technology. As progress was made with imaging capabilities, radiation therapy delivery also improved in terms of customization of dose delivery per the imaging characteristics of the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue.

Before the era of imaging, radiation therapy was delivered based on human body surface and anatomical landmarks. Later on, fluoroscopy, or diagnostic x-rays, were used to guide radiation therapy delivery. As three-dimensional imaging capabilities improved with computed tomography, CT scans were used, and CT-guided radiation therapy has been the standard of care in recent years. However, now MRI imaging provides even better soft tissue contrast than CT and can provide clearer images of the tumor and surrounding healthy tissue.

Why are you looking forward to using MRI-guided radiation therapy in your practice?
We can treat tumors at certain locations more precisely and accurately, resulting in increased cancer control with minimal side effects and improved patient convenience with fewer patient visits.

Bhaswanth Dhanireddy, MD

What is revolutionary about MRI-guided radiation therapy?
MR imaging provides superior soft tissue contrast compared to cone beam CT imaging and provides the opportunity to customize daily radiation doses to prioritize treating the tumor while minimizing side effects for the patient. Additionally, MRI-guided radiation therapy:

• Has superior ability to visualize the tumor and surrounding normal healthy tissue; 

• Improves the precision of radiation therapy delivery and reduces side effects; and

• Allows for the possibility of radiation therapy dose escalation with each fraction, thereby decreasing the overall number of radiation treatments.

How will patients’ lives be affected?
As the precision of radiation therapy delivery increases, cancer control increases. Reduced radiation dose to the surrounding normal tissues results in fewer side effects. With the possibility for dose escalation with each fraction of radiation, fewer radiation treatments will be necessary by condensing the needed effective radiation therapy dose, so that can result in improved patient convenience. I am very much looking forward to all of the ways this groundbreaking treatment will improve patient outcomes and improve patients’ overall experience with cancer treatment at AdventHealth.