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Hoag Brain Tumor Program Provides Innovative Care

The field of neurosciences is constantly innovating, developing more precise diagnostics, discovering more targeted treatments, all aiming for better results for patients. The Brain Tumor Program, a collaboration with Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute (PFNI) and Hoag Family Cancer Institute (HFCI), and its expert clinicians and researchers are helping to lead such innovation.

Ranked in the top 1% in the nation for neurology & neurosurgery and top 10% in the nation for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report, Hoag’s comprehensive approach to treating all brain tumors provides patients with access to the most advanced technologies available, the latest clinical research, subspecialized physicians, patient navigators, and the entire comprehensive care pathways that rival the most renowned institutions.

One of the most unique aspects of our program is our team-based approach to comprehensive care,” said Program Director Christopher Duma, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified neurosurgeon and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. “Our patients benefit from the extensive experience of some of the most respected sub-specialists in the country, working together.”

Neurosurgeons, ENT surgeons, neurologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists and physicists, neuro-radiologists, pathologists, a dedicated brain tumor nurse navigator, geneticists and endocrinologists all work side-by-side in this truly comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach, treating primary brain tumors to metastatic brain cancer. Weekly Tumor Board meetings provide consensus on best evidence-based care for every individual patient, from specific targeted therapies to stereotactic radiosurgery.

The team is constantly pioneering new diagnostic and treatment innovation. For example, PFNI’s Skull Base and Pituitary Tumor Program has established itself as the only Center of Excellence for Pituitary Surgery in Orange County, under the direction of Robert Louis, M.D., Empower 360 Endowed Chair of the Pituitary and Skull Base Program. Dr. Louis is pushing the boundaries of medicine well into the future, introducing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) preoperative surgical planning as well as intraoperative 3D navigational equipment to make brain tumor surgeries safer, faster and more precise, and aid faster recovery through patient interaction with VR.

“While some hospitals have been slow to adopt VR technology to plan and conduct surgeries, Hoag is one of the few that places goggles on patients and their families,” said Dr. Louis, a board-certified in neurosurgeon who is fellowship-trained in complex cranial surgery and minimally invasive skull base and pituitary surgery. “This “fly through” of the brain prior to complex neurosurgeries helps patients better understand their condition and planned surgery and leads to lower anxiety and better outcomes.”

Hoag’s neurosurgical outcomes consistently meet or exceed national standards, in part, due to Hoag surgeons’ exceptional expertise in minimally invasive surgeries and advanced technology.

Offering all three radiosurgery options for the treatment of brain tumors – Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, Cyberknife®, and TomoTherapy® – Hoag’s neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists are also engaged in training surgeons from across the nation on these tools, including the Gamma Knife® Perfexion - the most advanced radiosurgical device available for targeting brain tumors with half a millimeter accuracy.

Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute is one of the first facilities in the country to deploy a new laser technology, Invenio, for rapid intra operative diagnosis of brain tumors, shortening surgery and optimizing complete resection and outcomes. Hoag is the first hospital on the West Coast to routinely offer PET/MR, which supplies a clearer, more precise “picture” of the brain and its activity for more effective treatment.

As treatments and diagnostic capabilities improve, Hoag is at the forefront of bringing them to patients offering the latest clinical research trials, including vaccine approaches to managing the deadliest of primary brain tumors, glioblastoma.

“Our innovative culture is driven by an unfaltering dedication to our patients,” said Jose Carrillo, M.D., neuro-oncologist with the Hoag Neuro-Oncology Clinic. “We pride ourselves on combining compassionate care, clinical excellence and creative intelligence to bring patients the absolute best care available today.”

For more information, call 888-235-6973.