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The shrug of a shoulder, the memory of a holiday, the pleasure of a warm shower on a cold day — each of these experiences depends on the brain, the least understood organ in the human body. Brain tumors, depending on their location, interfere with specific functions controlling movement, retrospection and sensation, and may have drastic effects on the lives of patients and their families. In the past, the prognosis for people diagnosed with brain tumors has been poor, but now interdisciplinary collaborations at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center are identifying new therapies that give hope for longer and improved lives.
The traditional treatment for brain tumors involves a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. In our Cancer Center, experts retain these established approaches while working with specialists across different departments to incorporate the most recent technological advances and newest drugs. With the aid of precise imaging to define tumor size and shape, our surgeons are able to extract tumors with as little harm to nearby normal tissues as possible. In many cases, they can remove growths in complex areas of the brain through minimally invasive procedures. This approach dramatically shortens recovery time. The “sharpshooter” of radiation treatment — proton beam therapy — attacks cancer cells with a high-energy beam that minimizes the effect on healthy tissue. The Cancer Center operates one of only five proton beam facilities in the country and has the only one in New England.
Tracy T. Batchelor, MD, MPH
Executive Director
Jay S. Loeffler, MD
Chief, Department of
Radiation Oncology
Robert L. Martuza, MD
Chief, Neurosurgery Service
Brain tumors produce symptoms because of their size, location and ability to cause swelling in adjacent normal tissue. We are evaluating innovative treatments designed to shrink brain tumors and the accompanying swelling, thus facilitating surgery, alleviating symptoms, and enhancing the effectiveness of traditional chemotherapy drugs. In this issue of Synergy, our researchers and clinicians report on the beneficial effects of a new medication, AZD2171, which reduces both brain tumors and the associated tissue swelling.
Many new brain tumor treatments are being tested at the Cancer Center, and many of them are only available at select locations around the country. We aim to bring the best of these new treatments to our patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center as quickly as possible.
see the MGH Cancer Center
Advancing the Specialized Care of Individuals with Brain Tumors
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MGH Brain Tumor Center
Yawkey Building 9th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts,  02114
Patients & Families with questions about referrals, consultations or appointments may contact:
Telephone: 617.724.8770
Fax: 617.724.8769


Physicians with
questions may contact:
Tracy Batchelor, M.D.
Executive Director,
MGH Brain Tumor Center
Harvard Medical School
Mass General Hospital
MGH Cancer Center
NS @ MGHNS Diagnosis @ MGH
Disclaimer About Medical Information: The information and reference materials contained herein is intended solely for the information of the reader. It should not be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient's own physician. All visitors to this and associated sites from the Neurosurgical Service at MGH agree to read and abide by the the complete terms of legal agreement found at the Neurosurgery "disclaimer & legal agreement." See also: the MGH Disclaimer, the MGH Privacy Policy, and the MGH Interactive Program Disclaimer - Copyright 2008 MGH Neurosurgical Service - All Rights Reserved. System Info Contact: C.Owen Neurosurgery@MGH IntraNet
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