UChicago Medicine oncologist to receive prestigious medal for leukemia research

 Richard A. Larson, MDFor his pioneering hematology research, University of Chicago Medicine oncologist and professor Richard A. Larson, MD, will receive the 2019 Henry M. Stratton Medal from the American Society of Hematology.

The medal, one of the cancer field’s top honors, recognizes investigators who have made well-recognized contributions to hematology research over the past several years.

“I am very honored to receive this prestigious award from the world’s largest professional society of hematologists,” said Larson. “Throughout my career, I have been deeply committed to finding new personalized approaches that give patients a better chance of surviving their disease.”

Larson’s career at UChicago Medicine spans more than 42 years, and he credits the achievements that are being recognized by the Stratton Medal to surrounding himself with bright, hard-working and creative colleagues, including faculty, nurses, trainees and research staff.

Larson, director of UChicago Medicine’s Hematologic Malignancies Clinical Research Program, has dedicated his career to designing groundbreaking therapeutic trials for patients with leukemia. Through his research, he has made significant advances in understanding leukemia’s genetic basis and translating these insights into more effective treatments for patients.

“It is remarkable how far we have come through the application of clinical trials and translational research to achieve better outcomes for patients,” he said.

“Dr. Larson’s career has generated practice-changing data to the benefit of thousands of patients around the world,” said Sonali Smith, MD, interim chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology at UChicago Medicine. “His impressive leadership in clinical research makes him deserving of this outstanding recognition.”

Larson’s expertise is widely sought for leukemias and myelodysplastic syndromes. His clinical research has shaped the landscape of clinical management and changed treatment paradigms for multiple hematologic malignancies.

“There is almost no standard therapy currently administered for these cancers that has not, in some way, shape, or form, been influenced by Dr. Larson,” said Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, director of the UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. “His legacy has been to pave the way for continuity of groundbreaking clinical research in leukemia that can only be done in a collaborative manner.”

From 1983-2000, Larson served as director of the Leukemia Clinical Research Program, where he established UChicago Medicine’s allogeneic blood and marrow transplant program. He served as past chairman of the Leukemia Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, where he directed a large portfolio of clinical trials and ancillary lab studies in acute and chronic leukemias. He has also served as a member of the Hematology Subspecialty Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Larson has published more than 400 papers, reviews and book chapters on clinical and laboratory studies in human leukemias, and served on the editorial boards of BLOOD, the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Leukemia.

His current research interests include clinical trials in hematologic malignancies and stem cell transplantation, experimental therapeutics, the determinants of response to therapy in leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, and the etiology of therapy-related leukemias. He is currently in active clinical practice at UChicago Medicine and training 21 fellows in hematology/oncology.

Larson will receive the award during the 61st ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando on Dec. 10, 2019.

The Henry M. Stratton Medal is named for the co-founder of Grune and Stratton, the first publisher of ASH’s flagship journal BLOOD.

Medical oncologist Sonali Smith, MD, and lymphoma patient Clayton Harris

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