Dr. David Palma
Dr. David Palma
Dr. David Palma
Clinician Scientist II

Kathy Willsie
London Health Sciences Centre

Clinician Scientist II

The technology available for treating cancer with radiation is changing rapidly. Over the last 10 years there have been major changes in the way we locate cancer and also in the way we design personalized radiation treatments for patients. These developments have made radiation treatment more accurate, more effective, faster and safer.

Dr. David Palma’s research focuses on new imaging technologies used with radiotherapy to improve tumour targeting and to deliver higher doses of radiotherapy than previously possible, and new imaging methods that can better assess response after treatment. Palma is involved in several cutting-edge clinical trials. He co-led the SABR-COMET randomized trial assessing the role of stereotactic radiotherapy in oligometastatic disease, which demonstrated benefits to ablating metastases with radiation. He also co-led the ORATOR trial, comparing transoral robotic surgery versus precision radiation for cancers of the tonsil and base of tongue, which showed that quality of life with modern radiation techniques was better than with robotic surgery. Palma leads and co-leads the follow-up randomized trials SABR-COMET-10 and ORATOR2. Palma also chairs the Canadian Pulmonary Radiotherapy Investigators Group, which runs radiation-related lung cancer clinical trials and includes central collection of all imaging studies.

Palma also leads the Anatomy and Radiology Contouring Bootcamp for Radiation Oncology Residents an annual course combining anatomic, imaging and contouring instruction that is attended by residents internationally.

Palma’s work also focuses on empowering patients to seek out high-quality cancer care. He is the author of the best-selling book ‘Taking Charge of Cancer: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Treatment’.

Experience & Education
  • PhD, Department of Radiation Oncology, VU University
  • M.Sc., Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
  • MD, Western University
  • Resident in Radiation Oncology, University of British Columbia
Current Affiliations
  • Clinician Scientist II, OICR
  • Radiation Oncologist, London Health Sciences Centre
  • Associate Professor, Western University
Select Publications

See Dr. Palma’s recent publications on PubMed or on Google Scholar.

Research Areas
Disease Areas
Head and Neck Lung
Opportunities to Collaborate

Palma has participated and led several pan-Canadian and international initiatives, including clinical trials and meta-analyses. His research team and collaborators in London can offer several types of support, including clinical trial design, data collection and analysis and imaging analysis.

Visit OICR’s Collaborative Research Resources directory for more opportunities to collaborate with OICR researchers.

In the News
Radiation or surgery: finding the best treatment for oropharyngeal cancer
Radiation or surgery: finding the best treatment for oropharyngeal cancer
Jan 24, 2022