When radiation oncologist Joshua Weir, DO, joined the WVU Cancer Institute in 2019, he knew it was the right place to pursue his professional passions. These include caring for patients, conducting research, and teaching medical students and radiation oncology residents.
Dr. Weir oversees radiation therapy treatments for children and adults. He is the primary pediatric radiation oncologist at the WVU Cancer Institute and one of only a few in West Virginia.
“I help treat many pediatric cancers, including brain tumors, lymphomas, sarcomas, and a rare kidney cancer called Wilm’s tumor,” says Dr. Weir. “As a father, I can see how hard it is for parents to cope with their child’s cancer diagnosis. Nothing gives me greater joy than telling a parent their child is in remission – that there’s no longer any sign of cancer.”
Dr. Weir is the lead radiation oncologist for adults with primary brain cancer, spine tumors, and noncancerous brain and skull-base tumors. He treats cancers that grow in the digestive system, such as esophagus, liver, and colorectal cancers. And he cares for men who have cancer in their reproductive or urinary systems. This includes prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers.
Dr. Weir wants to make sure anyone with cancer can get the radiation treatments they need, no matter where they live. “In the past, many patients – especially children – had to travel outside of West Virginia to see a radiation oncologist,” he says. “My team and I make it easier for people to get care closer to home. We offer virtual consultations and follow-up visits, and we’re teaming up with doctors at rural clinics.”
When he’s not seeing patients, Dr. Weir spends time building the radiation oncology research program at the WVU Cancer Institute. He’s the lead researcher on several projects that may help improve radiation therapy for patients. These include research studies to:
- Compare two radiation treatments (stereotactic body radiotherapy and hypofractionated radiation therapy) for prostate cancer.
- Confirm whether a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy for bladder cancer is a good substitute for removing the bladder.
- Figure out how to care for patients whose brain cancer returns after stereotactic radiosurgery treatments.
- Develop a stem cell therapy that protects the small intestine during radiation treatments.
- Find genetic markers that show whether certain people are more likely to have serious side effects after radiation treatments.
Dr. Weir enjoys training the next generation of radiation oncologists at the WVU School of Medicine. He’s associate program director for the four-year radiation oncology residency program and director of Radiation Oncology’s medical student clerkship and summer externship programs. He also teaches a graduate school class on cancer medicines.
“Whether I’m counseling a family, running a clinical trial, or teaching future doctors, everything I do has an impact on patient care,” says Dr. Weir. “The patient experience is so important. I see people at their best and worst times, when they’re feeling dark and when they’re feeling hopeful. Helping people when they’re feeling vulnerable is both fulfilling and humbling.”
Outside of work, Dr. Weir loves spending time with his wife and two young children. He also enjoys listening to bluegrass music and taking advantage of all the great outdoor activities West Virginia is known for – especially golf, skiing, and snowboarding.