Kong also is Co-Leader of the Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic and Co-Director of Lung and Esophageal Cancer Programs at the GRU Cancer Center.
She joins the faculty this month as a joint report to the MCG Dean and the GRU Cancer Center Director. Kong comes to MCG from the University of Michigan where she was Associate Professor and Lead of Thoracic Radiation Oncology Research.
An expert in radiation therapy for lung, esophageal, and other thoracic cancers, Kong is helping develop personalized treatment approaches that improve patient outcomes while reducing side effects. Kong is Principal Investigator of a national multi-center trial, co-sponsored by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network, which is the first to use during-treatment Positron Emission Tomography/Computerized Tomography imaging for adaptive radiotherapy for lung cancer. She is also in the U.S. Principal Investigator for an international multi-center trial comparing the stereotactic body radiotherapy with surgery for early stage non-small cell lung cancers. She also has a National Cancer Institute-funded study assessing whether functional imaging and other modern technology can enhance survival for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.
“Dr. Kong is a strong recruit who will help us build this essential component of cancer care and strengthen the scope and impact of our Cancer Center as we move toward designation by the National Cancer Institute,” said Dr. Samir N. Khleif, Director of the GRU Cancer Center. “As with all our efforts, this move ensures that our patients today and tomorrow get the absolute best cancer care available, that we make significant scientific contributions which lead to even better care for patients and that we help educate the next generation of cancer caregivers.”
“Radiation oncology is a cornerstone of any cancer program and Dr. Khleif, who joined us in early 2012, quickly noted that we needed to build ours,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG Dean. “Dr. Kong is a remarkably accomplished colleague and her recruitment is a true homerun. We are pleased to work with the Cancer Center on this important initiative.”
Early goals include establishing a radiation oncology residency program, augmenting research infrastructure to enable expansion of basic science and clinical studies and bringing new treatment paradigms onboard, Kong said. “This is a place with great potential, a growing Cancer Center with a large population to serve,” she said.
Radiation, which is used for most cancer patients, is playing an increasingly important role in cancer treatment. It can be used alone to treat early, highly localized tumors and, more commonly, in conjunction with other techniques including surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Recent technological advancements, such as 4D motion control, image-guided radiotherapy, intensity- modulated radiotherapy and stereotactic radiation therapy, have greatly improved the accuracy of radiation targeting.
“The future is going to be every patient gets a specific radiation dose based on his sensitivity to radiation, including sensitivity of the tumor as well as the healthy organs, and many other biological factors,” she said.
Kong has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan for a decade. Her national activities include serving as an expert panelist for the American College of Radiology appropriateness criteria for lung cancer and for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for non-small cell lung cancer.
She is Vice President of the American Association of Women Radiologists and is a member of the association’s Executive and Strategic Plan Committees. She is the first President and Chairwoman of the Board of the Sino-American Network for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology. She also chairs the Field Advisory Committee of the National Veterans Affairs Radiation Oncology Program and serves as the American College of Radiology Commission of Radiation Oncology’s liaison to the American Pathology Association. She is a member of the Committee for Oral and Written Board Examinations of the American Board of Radiology and has served as a surveyor for the American College of Radiology Radiation Oncology Accreditation Program.
She is Senior Associate Editor of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics. She is Editor-in-Chief of Focus, a bi-monthly newsletter of the American Association for Women Radiologists. She serves on the editorial board of the Chinese Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, Journal of Thoracic Disease, and Journal of Radiation Oncology and has served as a scientific reviewer for more than 20 journals.
She is a recipient of both the Early and Middle Career Women Professional Leadership Awards from the American Association of Women Radiologists and the Association of American Medical Colleges as well as a Career Development Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.