First Clinical Trial in Florida Using Low-Dose Radiation Therapy to Treat COVID-19 Now Underway

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August 20, 2020

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Patients admitted with COVID-19 at Baptist Health South Florida hospitals may now enroll in a clinical trial to test a potential new treatment for the disease, according to a spokesperson for the health system.

Researchers at Miami Cancer Institute, which is part of Baptist Health, have launched a clinical trial that is testing the efficacy of a single, low dose of thoracic radiation to reduce the inflammatory process in the lungs of patients with severe respiratory symptoms due to COVID-19. By reducing inflammation in the lungs and improving respiratory symptoms, experts say it may avoid the need for intubation.

Minesh Mehta, M.D., deputy director and chief of radiation oncology, Miami Cancer Institute

Minesh Mehta, M.D., deputy director and chief of radiation oncology at Miami Cancer Institute and a renowned expert in radiation oncology, proton therapy and cancer research, is co-principal investigator for the study. “We have seen this treatment option benefit many cancer patients, and the hope is that is also helps those affected by the virus,” he said.

Radiation therapy has shown a reduction in inflammation in a number of conditions, including degenerative joint disorders, autoimmune disorders and viral pneumonia. At much higher doses, it is also used to treat cancer.

Miami Cancer Institute is the only healthcare organization in Florida participating in the study, which is one of several investigational treatments for COVID-19 being researched at Miami Cancer Institute and Baptist Health.

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