- Residency - Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1991-1994), Radiation Oncology
- Internship - McKennan Hospital (1990-1991), Transitional Year
- Medical School - University of South Dakota (1986-1990)
- Graduate School - University of Tennessee at Knoxville (1983-1986)
Robert Timmerman, M.D.
- Effie Marie Cain Distinguished Chair in Cancer Therapy Research
- Radiation Oncology
- Brain & Spinal Cord Cancer
- Brain Metastases
Robert Timmerman, M.D., FASTRO, is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, as well as Professor of Neurosurgery. After earning a master’s degree in reactor physics, he completed medical school in his home state of South Dakota, followed by a residency in radiation oncology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Early in his career, Dr. Timmerman specialized in treating brain tumors and other cranial abnormalities with devices like the Gamma Knife, an extremely precise, noninvasive radiosurgical tool that employs multiple angles to deliver gamma radiation. He was intrigued by the idea of moving this sort of multidirectional, precise treatment to other areas of the body. But there was a major hurdle: tumors inside the head don’t move because the skull is immobilized with a frame during Gamma Knife treatment. By contrast, tumors in the body can move a great deal due to activities like breathing and movement of waste through the intestines. But with more sophisticated image guidance and tracking, Dr. Timmerman and a few others began developing a method (known as SABR or SBRT) by which it was possible to account for movement and still safely deliver this treatment. Dr. Timmerman became known for his leadership in developing clinical trials to show how well SABR worked in different parts of the body.
One of Dr. Timmerman’s greatest successes was the development of a trial that demonstrated inoperable lung cancer patients treated with SABR could have considerably higher tumor control than with conventional radiation while still mostly avoiding toxicity. This provided hope to a whole new class of patients – the elderly, those with multiple health conditions, and others – who previously faced poor odds of beating their cancer. His treatment method has now become the new standard of care for this class of patients.
Dr. Timmerman currently directs training courses in stereotactic radiotherapy both at UT Southwestern and nationally for members of the national Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. He is a highly sought-after guest speaker and has authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and textbooks.
With his patients, he continues to focus on diseases of the central nervous system, including cancer of the brain and spine, as well as lung cancer. He also specializes in seeing children and young adults who are still growing – those for whom extremely precise treatment is likely to result in better long-term quality of life.
In 2018, he was named a Super Doctor by Texas Monthly.
Meet Dr. Timmerman
Robert Timmerman, M.D., specializes primarily in treating adults and children with brain tumors. He was one of the first researchers in the world to use specialized treatment techniques developed for brain tumors to treat cancer in the body. That technique is currently known as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) or, alternatively, as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). This revolutionary technique relies on highly advanced imaging technology and sophisticated planning software to deliver an extremely potent dose from multiple angles – and it has been shown to offer better cure rates in some instances, particularly for cancers that have spread (metastasized). Dr. Timmerman has championed the use of SABR globally and has served as the lead investigator in several national trials designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of SABR to treat cancer in the lung, liver, spine, and prostate.
“I am motivated by the need I see every day in the clinic to provide better treatments for our patients,” says Dr. Timmerman. “Technologies have developed in the last few years that have yielded game-changing, paradigm-shifting approaches, allowing us to reconsider how radiation is delivered in combination with surgery, chemotherapy, and other systemic therapies.”
"People with cancer are living much longer, so we are aiming to deliver treatments that are more tolerable and create fewer side effects.”
Dr. Timmerman is Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology, where he is also Director of Image-Guided Stereotactic Radiation Therapy and Director of Clinical Research. He has a secondary appointment as Professor of Neurosurgery and is the holder of the Effie Marie Cain Distinguished Chair in Cancer Therapy Research.
Dr. Timmerman is also Director of the Annette Simmons Stereotactic Treatment Center at UT Southwestern, where he has treated thousands of patients with the Gamma Knife and CyberKnife.
- The Children′s Cancer Group and The Children′s Oncology Group
- Society for Neuro-Oncology
- Radiation Therapy Oncology Group
- American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
- American College of Radiology
- The Best Doctors in America, 1998-2005
- Alpha Omega Alpha, 1989
IMRT, IGRT, SBRT - Advances in the Treatment Planning and Delivery of Radiotherapy
Meyer J, Kavanagh B, Timmerman R (editors)(Ed.) (2007), Basal, Switzerland, Karger
Treating Tumors that Move with Respiration
Urschel HC, Luketich JD, Papiez L, Timmerman R(Ed.) (2007), New York, NY, Springer Science & Business Media
Image Guided and Adaptive Radiation Therapy
Robert Timmerman and Lei Xing(Ed.) (2009), Baltimore, MD, Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
Brian Kavanagh and Robert Timmerman(Ed.) (2005), Baltimore, MD, Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins
- IMRT, IGRT, SBRT - Advances in the Treatment Planning and Delivery of Radiotherapy
A phase I trial of temozolomide and lomustine in newly diagnosed high-grade gliomas of childhood.
Jakacki RI, Yates A, Blaney SM, Zhou T, Timmerman R, Ingle AM, Flom L, Prados MD, Adamson PC, Pollack IF Neuro-oncology 2008 Aug 10 4 569-76
Extracranial Stereotactic Radioablation: results of a phase I study in medically inoperable stage I non-small cell lung cancer
Timmerman, R., Papiez, L., McGarry, R, Likes, L., DesRosiers, C., Bank, M., Frost, S., Randall, M., Williams, M. Chest 2003 124(5) 1946-1955
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and American College of Radiology practice guidelines for the performance of stereotactic body radiation therapy
Potters, L, Steinberg, M, Rose, C, Timmerman, R, Ryu, S, Hevezi, JM, Welsh, J, Mehta, M, Larson, DA, Janjan, NA Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2004 60(4) 1026-1032
Excessive toxicity when treating central tumors in a phase II study of stereotactic body radiation therapy for medically inoperable early-stage lung cancer
Timmerman, R, McGarry, R, Yiannoutsos, C, Papiez, L, Tudor, K, DeLuca, J, Ewing, M, Abdulrahman, R, DeRosiers, C, Williams, M, Fletcher, J J Clin Oncol 2006 24 4833-4839
Stereotactic body radiation therapy in multiple organ sites
Timmerman RD, Kavanagh BD, Cho LC, Papiez L, Xing L J Clin Oncol 2007 25(8) 947-52
Universal survival curve and single fraction equivalent dose: useful tools in understanding potency of ablative radiotherapy
Park C, Papiez L, Zhang S, Story M, Timmerman RD Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2008 70(3) 847-52
Surgery versus stereotactic body radiation therapy for early-stage lung cancer: who's down for the count?
Timmerman RD Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2010 Feb 28 6 907-9
Stereotactic body radiation therapy for inoperable early stage lung cancer.
Timmerman R, Paulus R, Galvin J, Michalski J, Straube W, Bradley J, Fakiris A, Bezjak A, Videtic G, Johnstone D, Fowler J, Gore E, Choy H JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association 2010 Mar 303 11 1070-6
Phase I dose-escalation study of stereotactic body radiotherapy in patients with hepatic metastases.
Rule W, Timmerman R, Tong L, Abdulrahman R, Meyer J, Boike T, Schwarz RE, Weatherall P, Chinsoo Cho L Annals of surgical oncology 2011 Apr 18 4 1081-7
Phase I dose-escalation study of stereotactic body radiation therapy for low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer.
Boike TP, Lotan Y, Cho LC, Brindle J, DeRose P, Xie XJ, Yan J, Foster R, Pistenmaa D, Perkins A, Cooley S, Timmerman R Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2011 May 29 15 2020-6
Local Surgical, Ablative, and Radiation Treatment of Metastases
Timmerman, RD, Bizekis, CS, Pass HI, Fong, Y, Dupuy, DE, Dawson, LA, and Lu, D CA - A Journal for Clinicians May 2009 59(3)
- A phase I trial of temozolomide and lomustine in newly diagnosed high-grade gliomas of childhood.
- Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
- Radiation Response Modifiers
- Hypofractionated Radiation Therapy
- Effect of SAbR on immune function and immunotherapy
- Brain & Spinal Cord Cancer
- Brain Metastases
- Pediatric Brain Tumors
- Radiation Therapy for Brain Tumors
- Acoustic Neuromas
- Chest Cancers
- Radiation Therapy for Kidney Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Liver Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Lymphoma
- Radiation Therapy for Melanoma
- Myeloma Treatment
- Ophthalmic Oncology
- Pituitary Tumors
- Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
- Pulmonary/Lung-Chest Wall-Mediastinal-Pleural Nodules
- Skin Cancer
- Skull Base Tumors
- Radiation Therapy for Testicular Cancer
- Radiation Therapy for Spinal Cord Cancer