Advanced Brain Tumor Research, Diagnosis, Treatments
For patients facing the diagnosis of brain cancer, having access to the full spectrum of treatment options can mean the difference between a positive outcome with good quality of life and a poor prognosis.
Brain tumors are among the most diverse types of human cancer, affecting both children and adults, arising either primarily in the brain or metastasizing from cancers of the lung, breast and skin (melanoma). As part of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the neuro-oncology program is among the most advanced in the country, offering patients personalized treatment plans and access to the latest technologies and clinical trials.
Wake Forest Baptist is home to the region’s only multidisciplinary clinic for brain tumor treatment. During weekly conferences, the clinical neuro-oncology team meets to discuss all patients seen in the prior week, as well as cases sent for review from around the region, Southeast, and nation.
Patients are evaluated by a medical oncologist, neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist and other specialists as appropriate, and recommendations for care are made and communicated to the referring physician and patient. The neuro-oncology team also includes otolaryngologists with expertise in skull base tumors.
That comprehensive, collaborative approach was critical when James Rollison of Gastonia, NC, was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in August 2009. “The diagnosis really blindsided my wife and me,” said Rollison. “We sought a second opinion from Wake Forest Baptist. I was seen within a few days and then underwent surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Now, two years later, I am doing well. We were impressed with everyone, not only for their clinical knowledge and skills, but also because they treated us with compassion.”
Available services include:
- Image-guided surgery
- Cortical mapping
- Awake craniotomy
- Leksell Gamma Knife® stereotactic radiosurgery
- Gliadel® wafer chemotherapy
- Convection-enhanced drug delivery
Our Gamma Knife program, the first in the state, offers one of the most experienced radiosurgical treatment teams in the U.S. It also is one of the most active Gamma Knife programs in the country. Since opening in 1999, more than 3,000 patients have benefited from this noninvasive treatment for benign and malignant brain lesions and arteriovenous malformations.
The Brain Tumor Center of Excellence (BTCOE), part of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, is leading the way in redefining future treatments for brain cancer. Proteins designed by BTCOE director Waldemar Debinski, MD, PhD, and colleagues provide a new way to target and destroy glioblastoma multiforme cells, the deadliest form of brain cancer, without harming healthy cells.
Glenn Lesser, MD, a hematologist and oncologist, directs clinical trials at Wake Forest Baptist through the Adult Brain Tumor Consortium, a cooperative group of centers that test treatments for brain tumors. Lesser is waiting for IRB approval to participate in a phase II study for a vaccine to treat glioblastoma multiforme.
Comprehensive Cancer Center clinicians and researchers have one of the most extensive laboratory and clinical research programs in the world for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of brain injury resulting from a brain tumor and its treatments, particularly radiation therapy. From the latest diagnostic technologies to the most advanced treatment modalities and clinical trials, the neuro-oncology program offers patients the most promising options for a positive outcome.