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Brain Tumor and Spine Tumor Program

Team Approach | Innovative Treatment | Leading Edge Research

Pioneering Program, Team Approach

NorthShore has one of the largest brain and spine tumor programs in the country, providing experienced and compassionate brain tumor care backed by leading research and an expert team of multidisciplinary specialists. Our neuro-oncology and neurosurgery specialists work in tandem to develop customized treatment plans for brain tumors—whether medical, surgical or both—that will yield the best outcomes for patients.

Our experts have vast experience with a wide range of tumor types, including:

  • Primary brain tumors such as gliomas (ones that originate in the brain such as glioblastomas, the common type of glioma in adults as well as others like oligodendrogliomas and ependymomas)
  • Meningiomas (typically benign tumors on the surface of the brain)
  • Metastatic tumors (tumors that spread to the brain through the bloodstream from the body)

NorthShore Neurological Institute understands that tumors of the spine, pituitary and brain are as individual as the patients they affect. That’s why our nationally-recognized brain tumor and spine tumor program offers the most advanced care available—tailored to the individualized needs of each and every patient. Our neurological specialists work closely with experts from our Kellogg Cancer Center in radiology, medical oncology, nursing, social work and rehab medicine to give our patients the advantage of an entire team of caregivers. And with NorthShore’s award-winning electronic medical record, your care team’s collaboration is seamless.

Innovative Surgical Treatment for Brain Tumors

At NorthShore, we evaluate brain tumors utilizing the latest in diagnostic technology. High resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the primary method for diagnosing brain tumors; CT and nuclear medicine imaging tools are also used. On-site scanning allows for rapid review by a specialized neuroradiology physician and timely communication with patients about results.

The initial treatment for brain tumors often begins with biopsy or resection of the brain tumor with the goal of preserving neurologic function. Our nationally-recognized, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons use a variety of advanced, minimally invasive brain surgery technologies, including:

  • GammaTile Therapy: NorthShore is the first in the state to offer a new innovative Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT)—GammaTile Therapy. Smaller than a postage stamp (2cm x 2cm), the GammaTile is a 3D-collagen tile embedded with Cesium-131 radiation. Once a tumor has been surgically removed, the neurosurgeon places the GammaTile at the tumor site where it instantaneously begins delivering a targeted dose of radiation to any remaining tumor cells. The radiation destroys any remaining cancer cells while limiting the impact on healthy brain tissue. The therapy adds just five to 10 minutes to surgery time, and the body absorbs the tile within two months, eliminating the need to be surgically removed.

  • Synaptive: This innovative, robotic technology improves access, precision and visualization of brain tumors, allowing neurosurgeons to remove previously inoperable tumors. NorthShore is currently the only institution in the Chicago area with this technology.
  • NICO BrainPath: This technology allows our surgeons to navigate through the natural contours of the brain transsulcal, minimizing damage to the surrounding tissue, with specially-designed instruments.
  • Visualase Laser Thermal Ablation: NorthShore was the first institution in Chicago to utilize this technique—heat from an ultra-thin laser reduces damaged tissue in minutes and leaves only a small incision while obliterating the tumor.
  • Yellow 560 Dye: Currently an exciting clinical trial, this dye stains cancerous tissues through fluorescence to illuminate the border between normal brain tissue and tumor tissue.

In addition to brain tumor surgery, our team offers a full array of the latest medical therapies and treatments for brain tumors. Our neuro-oncology experts direct the administration of chemotherapy. Standard chemotherapy treatments are offered in keeping with evidence-based medicine. We also offer a number of promising new treatments through our involvement in clinical trials.

Leading Edge Medical Therapies

The NorthShore Neurological Institute is involved in multiple clinical trials designed to offer patients promising new methods of cancer detection and treatment. Our brain tumor experts have led and participated in numerous pivotal studies that are transforming the spine and brain tumor care of our patients—and of patients elsewhere in the world.

NorthShore patients have access to clinical trials and treatment options that are not available at any other hospital in the region. In fact, more than one third of our patients are referred from well beyond our service area, both from locations across the country and internationally.

Through leading edge research and innovative technologies, our team is able to maximize outcomes for even the most complicated spine and brain tumor cases.

We offer an extensive offering of neuro-oncology trials and studies, including:

  • A study to determine the efficacy of ABT-414, an antibody-drug conjugate, versus placebo in newly diagnosed glioblastoma.
  • A study to determine the efficacy of ICT-107, a dendritic cell vaccine, versus placebo in newly diagnosed glioblastoma.

Please call 877.570.7020 for more information on brain tumor symptoms and treatment, or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.