john adler, md
Founder, CyberKnife Society
John Adler was raised in rural Connecticut. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1976, and received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School in 1980. General surgery was his initial goal when he started his internship at Harvard’s Brigham Hospital in 1980. However, after a change of heart, he entered the Harvard Neurosurgical Training Program where he completed his chief residency in 1987.
From 1985-6 Dr. Adler spent an inspiring one-year fellowship with Professor Lars Leksell at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. It was during this time that he became intimately involved with stereotactic radiosurgery, a field of neurosurgery towards which he would direct much of his career. In 1987, John joined the neurosurgery faculty at Stanford University (initially at the Palo Alto VA Hospital) as an Assistant Professor. Over time his clinical practice centered increasingly on the surgical management of a broad spectrum of brain and spinal tumors, especially as pertains to the application of radiosurgery. Meanwhile, his scholarly interests have overwhelmingly focused on translational research and included the development of instruments for computerized surgical navigation that enabled a new class of minimally invasive procedures for brain tumor. Dr. Adler is best known for his work in stereotactic radiosurgery and in particular for his seminal involvement in creating the field of image-guided radiosurgery. His research has been instrumental to the application of radiosurgical ablation for tumors (and other lesions) involving the head and neck, spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis. The principles embodied by Dr. Adler’s work have now been widely adopted throughout the field therapeutic radiation; it is estimated that one of 5 individuals living today in developed countries will be treated by such radiation at sometime during their lives.
In 1998, Dr. Adler was promoted to Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology. He is an author of more than 200 peer reviewed publications and book chapters, has, or continues to serve as an editor for seven medical journals (Neurosurgery, Stroke, Cancer, Computer-assisted Surgery, Robotic Medicine, The Journal of Radiosurgery, Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment and The Chinese Journal of Clinical Oncology), and is a named inventor on 15 United States patents. In 2009, Dr. Adler started the online next generation peer reviewed medical journal and social network named Cureus.com and currently serves as the journal’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief. The Cureus Medical Journal first became indexed in Pubmed in 2015.
In 1991, Dr. Adler founded the company, Accuray Inc, to commercialize his concept for image-guided radiosurgery, The CyberKnife. During a leave of absence from Stanford between 1999 and 2002 he served as the Chairman and CEO of Accuray, remaining on the company’s board of directors until 2009. To date Accuray’s technology has been used to treat more than 1 million patients.
In 2003, John founded the CyberKnife Society (renamed the Radiosurgical Society in 2011) where he functioned as its President until 2009. Between 2010 and 2015 Dr. Adler took a second leave of absence from Stanford to join Varian Inc., as The Chief of New Clinical Applications. John Adler has served on the scientific advisory boards of multiple companies including current positions he holds with CyberHeart, Cervel and SoniTrack Inc. Outside his professional life, John Adler is married and a father of 2 grown children.