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The Brain Tumor Research Center

Berkowitz and Knott Fund  for Brain Tumor Research

The Brain Tumor Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital is dedicated to the highly specialized care of patients with brain tumors. The center offers a distinctive environment where the study of brain tumors combines numerous specialties to deliver sophisticated, compassionate care. Assembled by Robert Ojemann, MD, the center's director, the core group consists of a range of clinicians working under the umbrella of the MGH Cancer Center, from the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology.

The group also works closely with the departments of Neuropathology and Neuroradiology.The Brain Tumor Center is committed to four goals:

To provide the highest-quality care to patients with brain tumors;
To develop and study new treatments for brain tumor patients;
To investigate the mechanisms involved in the formation and growth of brain tumors
To educate new brain tumor specialists.

The Brain Tumor Center works in partnership with the Molecular Neuro-Oncology Laboratories to create a remarkably strong resource for advances in the treatment of brain tumors. Scientists at the center seek to understand the molecular and genetic mechanisms that cause tumors to form and grow within the brain. Physicians then use this information to develop, assess and exploit new therapies for the treatment of tumors. In a major project, clinicians and scientists in the laboratories have focused their energies on understanding the gene mutations involved in the formation and progression of brain tumors. Mapping the pathways of tumor formation is critically important because it gives researchers an improved ability to detect changes in genes or chromosomes and predict whether a patient is likely to respond to treatment. The distinctive nature of the Brain Tumor Center allows for the quickest possible transfer of discoveries made in the laboratory to treatments for patients.

Because of the depth of expertise brought by the staff, the Brain Tumor Center is able to fulfill its wide-ranging mission to offer diagnosis and treatment, while conducting basic and clinical research and sponsoring academic training through a fellowship program, directed by Tracy Batchelor, MD.


Basic Research & Clinical research:

At the Brain Tumor Center, scientists are conducting cutting-edge research that has already yielded promising treatments. A team of 30 researchers works side by side with physicians to understand why tumors form and to find ways to turn laboratory results into new treatments. 

Under the direction of E. Antonio Chiocca, MD, PhD, investigators are successfully using gene therapy in the laboratory to suppress tumors. New genes are placed in tumor cells, thereby suppressing tumor growth. In another type of therapy, genes are used either to kill tumor cells or to make them more susceptible to chemotherapy. These promising methods will soon be available as therapies for brain tumor patients.

Another approach, under the direction of David N. Louis, MD, focuses on genetic abnormalities in brain tumors. Dr. Louis and his team are studying abnormal genes in tumors to understand why tumors form and to predict a patient's responsiveness to treatment. Dr. Louis has made great strides in clarifying the genetic pathways for different types of tumors. These pathways could have far-reaching implications for how these tumors are treated.

Tumor Complexity Modeling Project  - TCMP Thomas S. Deisboeck, M.D.             
Leading Project Investigator TCMP

An interdisciplinary multi-institutional joint-effort in order to study highly malignant brain tumors as complex dynamic self-organizing and adaptive biosystems. TCMP uses methods from various disciplines such as tumor biology, bioengineering, materials science, mathematical biology, nonlinear physics as well as computational and complex systems science. The goal of this innovative research project is to improve the understanding of tumorigenesis and to develop novel treatment strategies against this yet devastating disease.

Patients of the Brain Tumor Center have access to the most current therapies, often before they are made available to the general public. Massachusetts General Hospital is a founding member of a national program, New Approaches to Brain Tumor Therapy (NABTT), sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and run by Johns Hopkins University. As a participant, the MGH has access to newly developed drugs that are not yet being marketed nationwide. In addition, the MGH works with pharmaceutical companies to make other new therapies available to patients. With additional philanthropic support, the center could offer these promising treatments to even more patients.


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Research Laboratories:

Laboratories performing collaborative research projects, both Clinical and Basic Research studies, at MGH:

MGH Neurosurgical Service Research
MGH Neurology Research
MGH NeuroScience Center
MGH - HHMI NeuroScience Biomedical Research - NeuroBiology

For a more complete listing see Laboratories.


Berkowitz and Knott Fund  for Brain Tumor Research

Brain Tumor Research
at Massachusetts General Hospital

Berkowitz and Knott Fund  for Brain Tumor Research

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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