The University of Pittsburgh’s Neurosurgical Oncology Program joins leading neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, neuropathologists, researchers, rehabilitation experts, nurses and support staff with the latest technological advances. This multidisciplinary team delivers compassionate and sophisticated care to patients with tumors of the brain, spine and skull base. Education, support and counseling for family members are an important part of our work.
Our Neurosurgical Oncology Center is comprised of three primary divisions: the Adult Neurosurgical Oncology Program, the Pediatric Neurosurgical Oncology Program, and the Brain Tumor Program located at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the Hillman Cancer Center. The Brain Tumor Program is involved in clinical trials and basic science research for patients with brain tumors and is led by Ian Pollack, MD and Hideho Okada, MD, PhD.
The Adult Neurosurgical Oncology Center—which also includes the work of Johnathan Engh MD, Nduka Amankulor, MD, David Engle MD, Juan Fernandez-Miranda MD, Robert Friedlander MD, Paul Gardner MD, Peter Gerszten MD, Adam Kanter MD, David Kaufmann MD, L. Dade Lunsford MD, Joseph Maroon MD, Ajay Niranjan MD, Hideho Okada MD, PhD, and Daniel Wecht MD, is dedicated to providing the best treatment available for patients with both benign and malignant tumors of the brain and spine. The center is equally dedicated to to the development of more effective therapies for these diseases.
This center has been a leader in the implementantion ofed cutting edge technologies such as stereotactic radiosurgery using the Gamma Knife, Cyberknife, and TrueBeam, and image guided tumor resection using intraoperative CT. In addition, minimally invasive techniques for tumor removal using intracranial endoscopic port surgery (Neuroendoport) and endoscopic endonasal approaches to the skull base have been pioneered at this center. The use of advanced imaging modalities, such as high definition white matter fiber tract imaging and magnetoencephalograpy, has also facilitated better outcomes for selected patients with tumors.
As an international referral center for both adult and pediatric brain tumors, we rank among the top neuroscience programs in the nation. We provide consultation and guidance for local, national, and international referrals. Patients with both primary brain and spine tumors and metastatic tumors that have spread to the brain and spine from systemic cancers are seen in the Hillman Cancer Center in our multidisciplinary clinic that includes representation from neurosurgery, neuro-oncology and radiation oncology. A weekly multidisciplinary neuro-oncology tumor board is a forum for our team of specialists to review patient problems and to formulate management recommendations. The tumor board is attended by neurosurgery, neurology, radiology, pathology and radiation oncology faculty members. Similarly, there is a weekly skull base tumor board with involvement from otolaryngology/head and neck cancer specialists, neuro-ophthalmology, radiology and adult and pediatric neurosurgery.
Our faculty is also actively studying other neurological complications of systemic cancer and its treatment, including stroke, neurobehavioral disorders, neurological complications of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, and paraneoplastic neurological syndromes in collaboration with medical neuro-oncologists Frank Lieberman, MD and Jan Drappatz, MD.
The University of Pittsburgh is a member of the American Brain Tumor Consortium, which conducts clinical trials to evaluate novel chemotherapy and molecular treatments for adults with malignant primary brain tumors. In addition to membership in this group, our site is one of the few in the country that is also a member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, and the Cooperative Ependymoma Research Network, highlighting the breadth of our neuro-oncology expertise across the age spectrum. The University of Pittsburgh serves as the coordinating center for the North American Gamma Knife Consortium, which links 18 academic centers of excellence in radiosurgery. Moreover, our investigators have been at the forefront of development of innovative biological therapeutic approaches for patients with brain tumors such as immunotherapy using brain tumor vaccines and radiosurgery coupled with bevacizumab.
The Spine Oncology Radiosurgery Program, led by Dr. Gerszten, is the most experienced center in the world in using radiosurgery to treat a wide variety of both malignant as well as benign spine and paraspinal tumors. This highly effective therapy is both safe and painless, and avoids many of the risks associated with open surgery.
Centers of Excellence
Neuro-Oncology Referral Info