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More About the Brain Tumor Center
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Home > Patient Care > Brain Tumor Center > More About the Brain Tumor Center
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Surgery
Neuro-Oncology
Radiation Oncology
Research
 
Surgery

 
For most brain tumors, surgery is the most effective first line of attack. The neurosurgeons at UCSF who treat tumors of the brain and spinal cord specialize in treating particular tumors, assuring patients of a surgeon highly experienced in treating their particular condition. The neurosurgeons who take care of children with brain and spinal cord tumors have had fellowship training in pediatric neurosurgery and pediatric neuro-oncology.
 
During the resection of brain tumors, UCSF neurosurgeons use brain-mapping techniques to identify and avoid injury to sites of language, motor, and sensory function during surgery. Dr. Mitchel Berger, Director of the Brain Tumor Center, is a pioneer of these techniques. Brain mapping permits the surgeon to remove tumor and focal points of epileptic activity from the brain to the maximum extent possible, while minimizing ill effects from surgery. We also use the most advanced surgical navigation systems, which permit the greatest precision in tumor resection technique. Currently we have the capability to obtain computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans directly during surgery. These imaging techniques let the surgeon see precisely the size and shape of the tumor and where the tumor is located at every moment during surgery.
 
Children who come to UCSF with a brain tumor are cared for by our pediatric neurological surgery specialists in the UCSF Children's Medical Center-a 'hospital within a hospital' at the Parnassus Avenue campus in San Francisco. The Center, which has dedicated pediatric preoperative and postoperative facilities, is a member of the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI), a national nonprofit association of children's hospitals and health systems committed to excellence in children's services.
 
Gamma Knife® radiosurgery is a relatively new, noninvasive procedure used to treat certain small- to medium-sized brain tumors and some cases of epilepsy, among other conditions. At UCSF, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery is a multidisciplinary program involving adult and pediatric neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, biophysicists, nurses, and radiation technologists. For patients with a tumor that can be treated with radiosurgery, the procedure entails very little discomfort and only a short time to recuperate.
 
Neuro-Oncology
 
UCSF's Clinical Neuro-Oncology Program offers state-of-the-art therapy with drugs and combinations of drugs for children and adults who have brain or spinal cord tumors. Depending on their particular case, patients may have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials of new therapies that are sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)'s North American Brain Tumor Consortium - a cooperative group of ten institutions that is based at UCSF under the leadership of the Director of our Neuro-Oncology Program, Dr. Michael Prados. Many pediatric clinical trials at UCSF are sponsored the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, a cooperative effort sponsored by the NCI and funded by the NIH.
 
Radiation Oncology
 
Radiation therapy is used alone or together with surgery or medical therapy, or both, to cure cancer and to palliate symptoms or metastases. UCSF's Radiation Oncology facility is one of the largest and best-equipped in the United States and is a member of national cooperative groups, like the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, that perform studies to improve radiation therapy and combination therapies with radiation and drugs.
 
Research
 
In a uniquely related program of clinical and basic science research, the clinicians of the Brain Tumor Center work in partnership with researchers in UCSF's Brain Tumor Research Center (BTRC) and the Michael Douglas Pediatric BTRC to improve current therapies and develop new ones. Funded continuously with grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1972, the BTRC is internationally recognized for its contributions to research and the treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors. Many BTRC researchers are also members of UCSF's Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only institution in Northern California designated as a National Cancer Institute research center.
 
The Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium is a cooperative effort sponsored by the NCI and funded by the NIH to develop effective new strategies for treating children with malignant brain tumors. The site of this consortium at UCSF is the Michael Douglas Pediatric BTRC, established at UCSF in 1999 through the generosity of distinguished filmmaker and philanthropist Michael Douglas. UCSF also participates in the Children's Oncology Group (COG), a unified cooperative group combining the efforts of the major pediatric clinical trials groups based in North America - the Children's Cancer Group (CCG), the Pediatric Oncology Group (POG), the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group (IRSG), and the National Wilms' Tumor Study Group (NWTSG) - to accelerate the search for a cure and prevention of cancer in children and adolescents. Participation in national cooperative clinical trials like these ensures patients that the Brain Tumor Center at UCSF consistently has access to the latest techniques and the newest concepts in treatment for tumors of the brain and spinal cord.
 
Patient care programs associated with the Brain Tumor Center:
Adult Brain Tumor Surgery Program
Pediatric Neurological Surgery Program
Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery Program
Clinical Neuro-Oncology Program
UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Trials
 
 
 
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