Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University


A major focus in the Division is to explore the optimal combination of immunotherapy and radiotherapy.  Encouraging results from clinical trials using therapeutics against immune checkpoint proteins foretell that immunotherapy is becoming an essential component of cancer treatment. Theoretical advantage of combining immunotherapy with radiotherapy intensifies search of ways to maximize the abscopal effect, a systemic immune response against cancer that is triggered following radiotherapy.

To this end, we are testing variables including radiation dose, dose rate, dose fraction, delivery (brachytherapy) when combined with immunotherapeutics such as anti-PD1, anti-CTLA4 and other developing novel immunotherapeutics. Relevant novel molecular targets and pathways are being interrogated for their roles in immunogenic cell death and antigen presentation following DNA damage.

In addition, we are analyzing blood samples from patients who undergo radiotherapy to determine the alteration of host immune response against cancer during and following radiotherapy. This data will guide us in developing optimal sequencing of immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

Lastly we are examining potential toxicities such as lung injury from the combination of radiotherapy and PD1/PDL1 inhibitors since enhanced immune response during cancer therapy could lead to autoimmune disease and worse radiation-induced injuries such as pneumonitis. We are addressing these concerns using unique transgenic mouse model that lack PD-1 molecules in order to assist clinical trial development by providing preclinical safety data.

For additional information on this topic, contact Dr. Bo Lu at

  • Adam Dicker, MD, PhD
    Professor, Chairman and Director, Experimental Radiation Oncology Division
  • Bo Lu, MD, PhD
    Professor, Director, Division of Molecular Radiation Biology
  • Dennis B. Leeper, PhD
    Professor and Founding Director
  • Robert Den, MD
    Assistant Professor
  • Mark Hurwitz, MD
    Professor and Vice-Chair for Quality, Safety, and Performance Excellence
    Director of Thermal Oncology
    Medical Student Education/Clerkship Director
  • Nicole Simone, MD
    Assistant Professor
  • Wenyin Shi, MD
    Assistant Professor
    Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at JHN

Adjunct Faculty

  • Randy Burd, PhD
    Assistant Professor, University of Arizona
  • Yaacov Richard Lawrence, MD
    Director, Center for Translational Research in Radiation Oncology
    Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer Hospital
    Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Languino, Lucia
    Professor, Cancer Biology
  • Zhang, Jianke
    Associate Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
  • Karen Knudsen, PhD 
    Professor, Cancer Biology
  • Ullrich Rodeck, MD
    Professor of Dermatology

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