Submit your email address to sign up for the Visionary,
or monthly newletter.


Search the Radiation Oncology Institute


Submit your email address to sign up for the Visionary,
or monthly newletter.


Search the Radiation Oncology Institute

Close Index

GivingTuesday | Your Gift at Work | Update on Diversity RFP (Winter 2019, Vol. 9, No. 4)

Celebrating the ROI's Resident Researchers
The ROI has supported several exceptional residents conducting research, helping them to establish a record of securing grants. Learn more about these investigators and a new award that will help continue funding for resident research.
Great Response to the ROI Request for Research to Improve Diversity
The ROI was excited to receive a wide variety of ideas for new research projects focused on improving diversity, inclusion and health equity in radiation oncology and is looking forward to announcing new grants in the spring!
GivingTuesday 2019
Take part in the global celebration of generosity on December 3, by sharing your unselfies and making a gift, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar.
Douglas Martin, MD
Douglas Martin, MD, is a generous supporter of the ROI as a member of the Founders’ Circle and the 2019 President’s Circle. He supports the ROI to “give back to our field and to those who are working to improve the care we provide.”
Join the New ROI Sustainers' Circle
With a monthly donation, you can become a member of the new ROI Sustainers’ Circle and show your commitment to investing in radiation oncology research all year long.  
Reasons to Give to the ROI
As the season of giving approaches, J. Frank Wilson, MD, FASTRO, and Timothy Williams, MD, FASTRO, consider the many reasons why donors like you choose to support the ROI.
Your Gift at Work: ROI Funds Virtual Reality Study
David Byun, MD, and his team at NYU Langone Health's Perlmutter Cancer Center are investigating whether the use of virtual and augmented reality can help reduce patient anxiety during radiation therapy. 
Issue Index

Your Gift at Work: ROI Funds Virtual Reality Study

Increasing Patient Knowledge of RT to Reduce Anxiety

David Byun, MD, in collaboration with Kevin Du, MD, and Gregory Dorsainville, MPS, at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center is conducting a study to explore whether the application of mixed reality educational tools during consultation visits could better increase patient knowledge about radiation therapy, reduce anxiety and improve the quality of their overall treatment experience. Dr. Byun’s CurieUx (Curie User eXperience) mixed reality patient education software is designed to include a novel virtual reality 360 degree tour of simulation and treatment rooms for patients to explore, as well as interactive virtual disease-specific anatomy models to help physicians personalize their verbal explanation of each patient’s diagnosis and treatment.

Q&A with David Byun, MD

Why did you choose virtual and augmented reality to try to improve communication with patients during consultation visits for radiation therapy?

The complexities of radiation therapy require clinicians to effectively communicate in a concise and comprehensible manner to patients at initial consultation and thereafter. As such, it is heavily dependent upon the individual clinician’s verbal communication skills. With recent technological advancements in commercialized virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, it is now easier and more cost-effective than ever to enhance our verbal communication abilities with such multimedia visual tools.

How will CurieUx help patients better understand radiation therapy?

Prior investigations have shown that improved communication and knowledge delivery by the clinician at initial consultation provide patients with a sense of empowerment and reduction in anxiety. Transparency in communication and full disclosure of information regarding specific logistics, side effects and prognosis pertaining to the radiation treatment was also found to have the highest priority in patients during the initial consultation. As expected, the preferred method of communication and education was via visual and kinesthetic media. It is imperative then for both patients’ well-being and clinicians' workflow to effectively communicate and educate using a mutually beneficial medium. We believe that mixed reality is the perfect medium to make this happen.

How will you know whether CurieUx is helping patients?

Once developed, we plan on conducting a prospective single institutional study to assess for reduction in anxiety level associated with the implementation of our mixed reality software. Assessment of acute anxiety and distress will be performed using the previously validated cancer-specific Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) questionnaire at multiple times during a patient’s radiation therapy course. Further, evolution in radiation-specific knowledge and overall quality of radiation treatment experience from the intervention will be monitored as secondary endpoints.

If CurieUx is shown to help patients, how will other radiation oncologists be able to use it at their clinics?

Our project, CurieUx, will be generalizable to a larger population beyond our institution: our ultimate goal is to create a readily accessible and user-friendly mobile software application (“app”) that can be easily downloaded to any one of the already commercially available portable VR/AR headsets in the mass market. We envision a continuation of the initial consultation experience in which the patient may, for example, download the CurieUx Tour app to their smartphone and insert into a low-cost Google Cardboard headset for experiential consumption and re-exploration of the information introduced by the clinician at the office. We believe that release of our CurieUx VR tour experience as a free downloadable app for use by clinicians and patients alike will be more than reasonable to achieve within the scope of the current ROI grant funding opportunity.

Why is the grant from the ROI important to your research?

Generous financial support from the Radiation Oncology Institute is crucial to launching the initial stages of hardware acquisition, small scale software development, and clinical testing of our concept. While the product produced from the ROI’s grant will initially be limited to clinical application within our institution due to the complexities in development and maintenance of a proprietary software platform, it will be an important catalyst for educating clinicians and creating a dialogue on the benefits of integrating advanced multimedia technologies for enhancements of patient-specific experiences and well-being.