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UCSF Radiation Oncology
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Chris J. Diederich


Director, Thermal Therapy Research Group
& Clinical Hyperthermia,
Acting Director, Division of Physics, Department of Radiation Oncology

Department of Radiation Oncology
Box 1708 , 2340 Sutter Street, Room S331
San Francisco, CA 94115
Voice: (415) 476-8641
Fax: (415) 353-9883
Email: CDiederich[at]RadOnc.ucsf.edu

Professional Focus

Dr. Diederich's primary research activities include the design and development of ultrasound devices, support systems, and procedures for applying targeted hyperthermia and high-temperature thermal therapy. The application of hyperthermia or moderate thermal therapy (40-45 °C) to tissue may be used to significantly enhance radiation therapy, chemotherapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy, and drug delivery/activation (e.g., nanoparticles). High temperature (50-80+ °C) thermal therapy is currently used to outright destroy tumors or permanently change the physical properties of tissue. These ultrasound devices can produce shaped heating patterns and are more controllable than other modalities, thus potentially providing more conformable heating, better response and lower complication rates; the technology has demonstrated potential for cancer therapy, treatment of non-malignant disease, and tissue structural modification. The Thermal Therapy Research Group at UCSF is concentrating efforts on developing and employing highly controllable ultrasound heating technology to these various clinical problems, with a significant component being devoted to the treatment of cancer. This includes the development of implantable and catheter-based ultrasound devices as well as techniques for using MRI to monitor & control the resulting temperature distributions and zones of hyperthermia or thermal coagulation. Current studies with these devices will investigate image-based targeting of hyperthermia, thermally-targeted drug delivery, ultrasound assisted drug delivery, and hyperthermic enhancement of tissue oxygenation in sites such as prostate, cervix, and brain. Additional activities include the characterization and evaluation of existing ultrasound, microwave, and RF equipment currently in clinical use or under development. Clinically directed research efforts have led to innovations and recent implementations of devices such as interstitial ultrasound applicators for heating prostate or cervix in conjunction with HDR brachytherapy, and include Investigational Device Exemptions from the FDA for use of equipment in clinic as well as protocol development.