Fremont, Calif. – David Larson, MD, PhD, co-medical director of Washington Hospital’s
innovative Gamma Knife Program, was awarded the Gold Medal from the American
Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the organization’s most
prestigious award given to only two individuals each year. Dr. Larson
received the award for his contributions to the management of brain tumors
and the field of radiation oncology.
“It’s truly an honor to have a physician of this caliber on
the Hospital’s medical staff,” said Nancy Farber, chief executive
officer of Washington Hospital Healthcare System. “Dr. Larson is
just one example of the high caliber medical staff that is available locally
to care for our patients.”
Dr. Larson accepted the award at the Society’s 52nd Annual Meeting
held in San Diego. The meeting attracted more than 10,000 attendees from
around the world. “I am humbled and honored by this recognition
from my peers,” says Dr. Larson, who is a 25-year member of the
organization and served as its president and chairman of the board in 2001.
The Gold Medal is bestowed on revered members who have made outstanding
contributions to the field of radiation oncology, including research,
clinical care, teaching and service according to ASTRO’s website,
the world’s leading organization devoted to radiation oncology.
Its members include more than 9,000 medical and scientific professionals
who use radiation therapy to treat patients with cancer and other diseases.
The award was presented by Theodore L. Phillips, M.D., professor emeritus
of Radiation Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.
“Dr. Larson is an outstanding clinician, and clinical and laboratory
scientist,” stated Dr. Phillips in his remarks. “He became
a leader of radiation neuro-oncology nationally, established the guidelines
for radiation oncology participation in central nervous system radiosurgery,
and later became a pioneer in stereotactic body radiosurgery. He has been
a great teacher and role model and a supportive friend to many in our
During his career, Dr. Larson has published hundreds of articles, mostly
about brain tumors, and has lectured around the world. He was one of the
early users of the Gamma Knife for radiosurgery, a form of radiation therapy
that focuses high-powered x-rays on a defined area of the brain to treat
brain tumors and other disorders. He also advises the manufacturer of
the Gamma Knife about ways to improve the technology and served on a committee
that helped developed the PERFEXION, the latest version of the Gamma Knife.
Currently at Washington Hospital, Dr. Larson uses the Gamma Knife PERFEXION™,
the most advanced and effective version of the technology. The powerful
PERFEXION is the centerpiece of the Gamma Knife Program, part of the Hospital’s
Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute. Washington Hospital was only
the third hospital in the world, and the first in the United States, to
install the PERFEXION.
“The fully automated device works extremely well while minimizing
the radiation dose to surrounding normal brain tissue,” explains
Despite its name, Gamma Knife radiosurgery does not make a surgical incision.
Rather, the program’s skilled team of specialists uses direct beams
of radiation to treat brain-related disorders without opening the skull.
The safe, noninvasive approach is nearly painless, and patients can usually
return home in just a few hours, resuming normal activities the next day.
Washington Township Health Care District is governed by an elected board
of directors. Unlike a municipal or county hospital, Washington Hospital’s
operating expenses, research, community programs, and employee salaries
are funded by revenues generated through providing patient and other health
Washington Hospital Healthcare System includes a 359-bed acute-care hospital;
the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute; The Gamma Knife® Center;
Washington Radiation Oncology Center; Washington Outpatient Surgery Center;
Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center; Washington Outpatient Catheterization
Laboratory; Washington Center for Joint Replacement; the Institute for
Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery; and Washington West, a complex
which houses Washington Women’s Center, Outpatient Imaging Center
and additional outpatient hospital services and administrative facilities.