TORCH Clinical Trial


Thank you for your interest in research at the University of Florida.

This study is called TORCH and is led by Dr. Maryam Rahman. TORCH seeks to understand if a new treatment is effective against brain mets.

TORCH is being conducted at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Travel compensation is not provided.

This study has very specific criteria that you must match in order to enroll. You can read more about the criteria below or reach out to the study coordinator,

Marcia Hodik , directly:



This study is for adults 18 years old and older and one of the following diseases diagnosed:

  • Primary Melanoma
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Head and Neck Squamous Cell Cancer
  • Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma
  • Urothelial Carcinoma
  • Microsatellite Instability-High Cancer
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Merkel Cell Carcinoma
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma

In addition:

  • Imaging must be provided to demonstrate metastases (1-3 lesions) where at least one lesion has had prior stereotactic radiosurgery and demonstrates tumor growth
  • Patient must not have an active viral or autoimmune disease

Study treatment

The purpose of this research study is to determine if laser interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) plus pembrolizumab is effective in the treatment of recurring brain metastases.

LITT is an innovative and minimally invasive treatment for brain tumors, epilepsy, and other brain lesions. This treatment involves computer-assisted placement of a laser probe into the brain and delivery of heat therapy.

During the treatment, the patient is in MRI for monitoring of the margins of heat delivery. LITT allows for minimally invasive treatment for deep brain lesions. Most patients are treated without general anesthesia and are discharged home the day after treatment.

You can read more about LITT here.

Pembrolizumab is a type of medication that helps your immune system help fight cancer, known as immunotherapy.

All study patients will receive both LITT and pembrolizumab. The study team can explain the treatment in more detail with you.

We encourage you to visit this website created by the study sponsor, Monteris, to learn more about the treatment.

Study activities

First, contact the study team. They will discuss the eligibility criteria with you.

The study team will set up an appointment at the clinic in Gainesville, Florida, and ask you for medical records for proof of your disease.

This study only involves very specific cancers, as outlined below. After this initial appointment and review of your records, may not be eligible to move forward with this clinical trial.

If you are eligible to participate, you will be asked to participate in the following activities:

  • Screening blood tests, physical exam and MRI
  • Biopsy and LITT
  • Pembrolizumab given every 3 weeks by infusion
  • Periodic MRIs and routine clinical appointments for monitoring purposes are required
  • Research blood and tumor tissue collected for immune monitoring

If you have questions about eligibility or treatment, please contact the study coordinator Marcia Hodik


18 to 65
65 and over



Monetary compensation


Can be done from home



Neurosurgery, Cancer, Brain Tumors, Metastasis

Principal Investigator

Maryam Rahman, MD



Contact Information

(352) 273-6971

Be an Informed Participant

Before deciding to participate in a research study, take time to learn about clinical research, how it's conducted and your rights as a research participant. Following are some helpful resources from independent sources. Always remember that a clinical research study is research, not treatment.

Know Who to Contact

  • Eligibility: For questions about a specific study and who is eligible to participate, call or email the contact person listed for that study.
  • Your Rights: For questions about your rights as a research participant, contact the UF Institutional Review Boards at 352-273-9600.
  • Feedback: For general questions or feedback about study listings, email the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute at

Other Resources

  • HealthStreet: Health-focused services, classes and events, and opportunities to participate in research.
  • Join a national registry of volunteers willing to be contacted about research studies.

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