Baptist Health South Florida

Miami Cancer Institute Launches First Clinical Trial in Florida to Test Radiation Therapy Treatment in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

August 19, 2020

The first and only clinical trial in Florida utilizing low-dose radiation therapy for patients
with severe respiratory symptoms

MIAMI, FL– August 19, 2020 – 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.

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

The trial, “Low-Dose Whole Thorax Megavoltage Radiotherapy for Patients with SaRS-CoV-2 Pneumonia,” is a multi-center, international clinical trial jointly led by principal investigators from Miami Cancer Institute and The Ohio State University, the coordinating center for the trial.

“We are exploring numerous scientific frontiers to rapidly create hypothesis-driven, practical, and broadly available clinical trials for our patients, in turn, creating a host of biological and technological options,” said co-principal investigator, Minesh Mehta, M.D., deputy director and chief of radiation oncology at Miami Cancer Institute. “We have seen this treatment option benefit many cancer patients, and the hope is that is also helps those affected by the virus.” Dr. Mehta is also the chair of the Department of Radiology at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

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. Dr. Mehta, a renowned expert in radiation oncology, proton therapy and cancer research, joins co-principal investigator Arnab Chakravarti, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at The Ohio State University and member of the Translational Therapeutics Program at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study is one of several investigational treatments for COVID-19 being researched at Miami Cancer Institute and Baptist Health.

About Miami Cancer Institute
Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology program in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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