Carmel Valley physician to receive Cancer Society’s highest honor

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) announced it will award Scripps Clinic radiation oncologist Prabhakar Tripuraneni, M.D., of Carmel Valley, with its highest honor, the ASTRO Gold Medal, during ASTRO’s 55th annual meeting this September in Atlanta.

ASTRO’s Gold Medal, first awarded in 1977, is bestowed annually on ASTRO members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of radiation oncology, including work in research, cancer care, teaching and service. Including the 2013 awardees, only 72 of ASTRO’s more than 10,000 members have received the Gold Medal award.

Tripuraneni, head of the division of radiation oncology at Scripps Clinic and a former chairman of ASTRO, has impacted the clinical aspect of radiation oncology with his insights in vascular brachytherapy and influenced improvements to ASTRO through leadership roles on ASTRO’s board of directors. His volunteer work on behalf of ASTRO has included the areas of practice accreditation, website development and e-learning initiatives.

“I feel it is my duty to give back to my professional community and to help pioneer new ways to treat the many cancers affecting our patients,” said Dr. Tripuraneni, who has been with Scripps Clinic for 30 years.

Working with physicists and cardiologists in the late 1990s, Dr. Tripuraneni developed the methodology, dosimetry and dose prescription for endovascular brachytherapy to avoid coronary restenosis. Restenosis is a common problem after angioplasty, when the blood vessels can become blocked again. Dr. Tripuraneni and colleagues pioneered techniques to irradiate the stent to prevent tissue from growing and blocking it again. This technique was published in 1977 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Tripuraneni is currently conducting research on the safety and quality of radiation therapy. He has authored more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals on the topic of vascular brachytherapy.

In addition to his clinical expertise and accomplishments, Tripuraneni has played an integral role in expanding ASTRO’s services and support to its members and the radiation oncology field. He was a key player in creating the ASTRO Fellows designation, which honors active ASTRO membership of at least 15 years and commendable service to ASTRO and the field of radiation oncology. He also organized Integrating the Healthcare Environment-Radiation Oncology (IHE-RO), an initiative that works to improve the sharing of information among the various computer systems and software utilized in radiation oncology practices. And he continues to provide guidance and leadership for ASTRO’s new practice accreditation program.

His additional efforts include launching the initial website in 1998 and serving as editor of ASTROnews, the society’s quarterly member magazine. He also launched the first Radiation Oncology Inter-Society meeting in 2007, and organized the first eContouring sessions at ASTRO’s 2005 annual meeting.

“I am honored to receive ASTRO’s Gold Medal and to be recognized by my peers. In many ways, I share this honor with numerous colleagues at Scripps Clinic, whose time, energy and skill has contributed to the betterment of radiation oncology,” said Dr. Tripuraneni.

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