Chris L. Hallemeier, M.D., studies the impact of radiotherapy on outcomes for patients with gastrointestinal malignancies, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver, bile ducts, pancreas, intestines, rectum and anus. Dr. Hallemeier studies the integration of radiotherapy with surgery and systemic therapy to help identify optimal and individualized multimodality treatment approaches. A primary focus of his research involves proton beam radiotherapy for gastrointestinal malignancies; proton beam radiotherapy reduces radiation exposure to normal tissues and therefore may reduce short- and long-term side effects from radiotherapy.
- Proton beam radiotherapy for gastrointestinal cancers. Dr. Hallemeier studies the optimal delivery and outcomes of proton beam radiotherapy for gastrointestinal cancers, including esophageal, liver, pancreas, rectal and anal cancers.
- Impact of thoracic radiotherapy on heart function. Dr. Hallemeier is studying the impact of thoracic radiotherapy for esophageal cancer on heart function, using advanced imaging techniques including magnetic resonance imaging and echocardiography.
- Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for liver tumors. Dr. Hallemeier is studying the effects of SBRT for liver tumors on the immune system, including strategies to boost the anti-cancer immune system response after SBRT.
- Radiotherapy for pancreas cancer. Dr. Hallemeier is studying the impact of radiotherapy, administered either before or after surgery, on outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Significance to patient care
Improvements in radiotherapy delivery and integration into multimodality treatment paradigms will lead to improved outcomes for patients with gastrointestinal malignancies. Specifically, a reduction in treatment-related side effects may allow more patients to be candidates for potentially curative radiotherapy modalities. Additionally, this may allow escalation of therapy, including higher doses of radiotherapy, additional new systemic therapies, and more-aggressive surgical procedures for patients with poor-prognosis cancers.