January 23, 2009 - The new Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute is a collaboration of Northwestern Memorial, the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, established to merge medical research with state-of-the-art, comprehensive care to better manage and treat patients with brain tumors.
In addition, the Institute emphasizes therapeutic approaches that preserve quality of life while taking every measure possible to extend life.
"Brain tumor treatment is very complicated," said James Chandler, M.D., Northwestern Memorial's surgical director of neuro-oncology and the Institute's co-director. "The very therapy that may eradicate malignancies may also diminish quality of life for some patients."
The Institute's three-pronged approach rests upon surgery, medical treatment and clinical research. With surgery for example, advanced neuro-imaging techniques, neuro-navigation and brain mapping, makes brain tumor surgery much more precise than in years past. And, through minimally invasive endoscopic skull-based procedures, brain tumors can be accessed through the patient's nose, eliminating the need to split the face and skull.
With medical treatment, the neuro-oncology team provides an extensive list of cutting-edge chemotherapies offered through clinical trials. In addition, medical treatment is integrated with psychosocial therapy options like monthly support groups and a Brain Tumor resource center. The rapid growth of Northwestern's clinical neuro-oncology programs has lead to the natural evolution of growth within the sciences, said Northwestern.
"Our academic medical center does not rely solely on clinical trials developed by outside pharmaceutical companies," said Markus Bredel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Brain Tumor Institute's research program. "We also develop a number of our clinical trials in-house based on our own findings, our collective knowledge and medical expertise, which truly makes us unique."