News and Highlights
5 Weill Cornell Neurosurgeons Named to List of 2013 SuperDoctors
May 19, 2013
Five neurosurgeons at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center have been named to the 2013 list of SuperDoctors, published today in a special section in The New York Times magazine. This year's list includes Neurosurgeon-in-Chief Philip Stieg, M.D., Ph.D.; Vice Chairman and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery Mark Souweidane, M.D.; Vice Chairman for Research and Director of Movement Disorders Michael Kaplitt, M.D., Ph.D.; Chief of Spinal Surgery Roger Hartl, M.D.; and spine surgeon Eric Elowitz, M.D.
The annual SuperDoctors list begins with peer nominations, in which doctors are asked: "If you needed medical care in one of the following specialties, which doctor would you choose?" The nominees are then evaluated based on years of experience, honors and awards, leadership positions, fellowship training, publications, and other professional criteria. The final list represents the top 5 percent of doctors in each specialty, as selected by a blue-ribbon panel of physicians.
"I believe all of the surgeons here at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center are superstars," says Dr. Stieg. "It's always nice when that is recognized by our peers."
See this year's list of neurological surgeons on the SuperDoctors list. http://www.superdoctors.com/new-york-metro/New-York/Surgery-Neurological/browse
New Clinical Trial for Glioblastoma Multiforme
The Weill Cornell Brain Tumor Center has opened a new clinical trial for patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The new trial is a phase I/II trial of repeated superselective intra-arterial cerebral infusion of bevacizumab (Avastin).
Weill Cornell researchers have shown in a previous phase I trial that superselective intra-arterial cerebral infusion (SIACI) of bevacizumab is safe and effective in the treatment of recurrent GBM, more than doubling progression-free survival. This phase I/II clinical research trial is an extension of that trial in that we seek to test the hypothesis that repeated dosing of intra-arterial bevacizumab is safe and effective in the treatment of newly diagnosed malignant glioma.
By achieving the aims of this study we will also determine if repeated intra-arterial bevacizumab improves progression-free and overall survival in newly diagnosed patients. We expect that this project will provide important information regarding the utility of repeated SIACI bevacizumab therapy for malignant glioma, and may alter the way these drugs are delivered to our patients in the near future.
Principle investigator: John Boockvar, M.D.
For more information regarding the trial please contact Tamika Wong, MPH, Clinical Research Coordinator at 212-746-1788 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Boockvar at 212-746-1996 or email@example.com.
Dr. Souweidane's Patient Seen in New Ad Campaign
Dr. Souweidane's Patient Seen in New Ad Campaign Danion Jones, a young patient of Dr. Mark Souweidane, is featured in the latest video from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. At age three Danion was near death from a brain tumor, but his mother brought him to Dr. Souweidane at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center. Dr. Souweidane recognized that Danion's grave condition was not due to his tumor but to infection and was able to help the child recover. With Danion back from the brink, Dr. Souweidane performed a full day of surgery to remove the tumor and restored the boy to his mom.
Over the next several years, Danion had a full and joyful life, even appearing at Amateur Night at the Apollo with the Weill Cornell team cheering him on. The tumor continued to grow, and Danion ultimately succumbed. His mother remains grateful to Dr. Souweidane for allowing her four additional years with her singing, dancing, much-loved child.
Dr. Hartl Co-authors Book on Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
"Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: Techniques, Evidence, and Controversies," an AOSpine text co-authored by Dr. Roger Härtl and Dr. Andreas Korge, is now available in print and as an e-book. The most comprehensive publication of its kind, the book includes more than 500 pages of surgical techniques, illustrations, case images, tips and tricks, and research.
Minimally invasive spine surgery has been shown to reduce muscle damage, blood loss, and postoperative pain, and this book examines a range of minimally invasive techniques, including the pros and cons of each technique, the spectrum of indications and contraindications, historical and modern-day controversies relating to each technique, and a unique evidence-based section summarizing research studies, analysis, and conclusions from peer-reviewed journals.
In addition, the text includes a brief historical introduction on each technique and the surgeons that explored and founded its methods, their early (sometimes self-made) instrumentation, right through to todays current best-practice, providing an interesting, informative, and topical instruction on minimally invasive surgery and its increasingly encouraging results for spine-patient care.
Dr. Schwartz to Bring Endoscopic Techniques for Pituitary Surgery to Singapore
Dr. Theodore Schwartz will lead a two-day course for neurosurgeons in Singapore in March, bringing advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques to local surgeons. Dr. Schwartz was invited by the National University Health System, Division of Neurosurgery, to present "Advanced Endoscopic Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery: A Hands-on Symposium," on March 12 and 13. For more information, visit the National University Health System at www.nuh.com.sg or download the course brochure.
Dr. Boockvar Named Winner of Gary Lichtenstein Award
Dr. John Boockvar has been named by Voices Against Brain Cancer as the winner of the 2013 Gary Lichtenstein Humanitarian Award for his lifetime commitment to finding a cure for malignant brain tumors. Dr. Boockvar is co-director of both the Brain and Spinal Tumor Program and Surgical Neuro-oncology Program at Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center; directs the Weill Cornell Brain Tumor and Stem Cell Research Laboratory and the Brain Tumor Research Group; and is the founder of the annual Brain Tumor Biotech Summit at Weill Cornell. Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC) is dedicated to advancing research, increasing awareness, and establishing support for patients and families. Dr. Boockvar will receive the award on June 6, 2013, at the annual Sounding Off for a Cure concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. The 2013 Brain Tumor Biotech Summit convenes the following morning at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Theodore Schwartz and Dr. Gabriella Wernicke Present Clinical Findings on Cesium-131 Study
On November 17, 2012, neurosurgeon Theodore Schwartz and radiation oncologist Gabriella Wernicke presented clinical findings on their study of brain cancer treatment using Cesium-131 radiation seeds. The presentation was made at the annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) in Washington, DC. Their study compares the relative effectiveness of Cesium-131 versus other common therapies in treating newly diagnosed metastatic brain tumors. The results show that internal radiation therapy using Cesium-131 is as effective as other treatments, but at lower cost. Read more about the Cesium-131 study and watch the video below for more details.
Dr. Hoffman Wins 2012 Kenneth Shulman Award
Caitlin Hoffman, M.D
Caitlin Hoffman, M.D., a sixth-year resident in neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, has been awarded the 2012 Kenneth Shulman Award from the Joint Section on Pediatric Neurosurgery. This award is given each year for the best paper presented at the annual meeting of the Joint Section by a resident-in-training. Dr. Hoffman, whose winning paper was on the "Role of Bone Marrow Derived Cells in the Tumor Microenvironment of Medulloblastoma," joins previous Weill Cornell winners of this prestigious award: Dr. David Sandberg in 2001 and Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield in 2007. Congratulations to Dr. Hoffman!
Concert to Benefit Brain Cancer Research at Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center
The groundbreaking brain cancer research taking place at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center will get a boost from some of today's leading opera and Broadway artists at a one-night-only concert on Thursday, December 6. The performance, to be held in Victor Borge Hall at Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue (at 38th Street) in New York, features a program that ranges from Gershwin and Sondheim favorites to Puccini's greatest masterpieces. Starring soprano Samantha Jeffreys with Djordje Nesic at the piano, the concert also includes special guests Ta'u Pupu'a, Sara Fanucchi, Michael Corvino, Andrea Nwoke, Brian Jagde, James LaRosa, Katie Hannigan, Michael Zahler, Jocelyne O'Toole, Christopher Eaglin, Sarah Caldwell Smith, and Will Van Dyke. Doors open at 7 pm, with the performance to begin at 7:30 pm and a reception to follow.
In lieu of ticket sales, attendees are asked to make a tax-deductible $50 donation to brain cancer research. One hundred percent of the donations for this concert, which honors Karen Jeffreys, will go to support the brain cancer research in our laboratories. Click here to make a donation and please contact John Zelenka at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your ticket.
For more information, please contact Alison Zayas at email@example.com.
Dr. Ted Schwartz Awarded NIH Grant for Epilepsy Laser Treatment Research
Dr. Theodore Schwartz
Neurosurgeon Dr. Ted Schwartz, along with Dr. Chris Shaffer of Biomedical Engineering, has received a prestigious 2-year NIH grant to lead research on ground-breaking laser treatments for epilepsy. In his lab at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, Dr. Schwartz will use a femtosecond laser on animal models to make microscopic incisions in portions of the brain in hopes to prevent epileptic seizures yet preserve function.
The goal of the research will be to determine which cortical layers should be cut and in what geometric pattern in order to stop the seizures from occurring without affecting normal brain function. Side effects of the various experimental cuts will be recorded. The study will provide valuable information about the specific locations in the brain to be treated and the treatment's long-term effectiveness. If the long-term outcome of the animal models proves successful, then the treatment will be deemed suitable for humans, opening the door to novel treatments for epilepsy.
Pediatric Epilepsy Team Featured in Daily News
L-R: Dr. Schwartz, 12-year-old patient
Khosboo Persaud, pediatric epileptologist
Juliann Paolicchi, and Dr. Greenfield
Dr. Theodore Schwartz, Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield, and Dr. Juliann Paolicchi were all featured in the New York Daily News on October 7, 2012. The article told the dramatic story of simultaneous surgeries -- on a 12-year-old girl, whose procedure provided relief from epileptic seizures; and on her father, whose heart attack at his daughter's bedside required a lifesaving stent to open a blocked artery.
Dr. Schwartz, the director of epilepsy surgery at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, and Dr. Greenfield, a pediatric neurosurgeon specializing in epilepsy, performed the surgery on 12-year-old Khosboo Persaud. This advanced surgery uses high-tech mapping to pinpoint the exact location of the seizures, which allows surgeons to remove the malfunctioning area without damaging nearby healthy brain tissue. Read more about this dramatic day in the Daily News article.Dr. Mark Souweidane Brings His Expertise to Germany to Teach Advanced Endoscopic Neurosurgery
Dr. Mark Souweidane
Next April, Dr. Mark Souweidane will co-lead a three-day endoscopic neurosurgery course in Germany with Dr. Peter Nakaji of Barrow Neurological Associates. The course will offer a comprehensive overview on endoscopic techniques in intracranial neurosurgery, including didactic lectures, illustrative cases, and cadaveric workshop sessions. Procedures will include managing complex hydrocephalus, removing intraventricular tumors, and endoscopic transnasal approaches to the pituitaty fossa and the entire midline skull base.
The hands-on training is tentatively scheduled for April 3-6 at Aesculap Academy in Tuttlingen, Germany For more information about the course and to register, please call Aesculap Academy at (610) 984-9208. Registration deadline is February 24, 2013.Dr. Stieg Helps Cut the Ribbon on New Regenerative Medicine Laboratories at Burke
Dr. Philip E. Stieg, second from right, helps open the new Regenerative Medicine Laboratories at Burke Medical Research Institute.
Dr. Philip Stieg, chairman of the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, was honored to take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Regenerative Medicine Laboratories at the Burke Medical Research Institute in White Plains on September 14, 2012. The mission of the new Regenerative Medicine Laboratories is to advance the science of neurological disorders and trauma and reduce disability from stroke, brain and spine injury, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer-s and Parkinson's diseases, and other conditions affecting the brain and spine.
The Burke Medical Research Institute conducts research in partnership with the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College, whose ties go back to Burke's founding in 1915. The new facility brings Burke's regenerative medicine research laboratories to more than 40,000 square feet.Dr. Mark Souweidane Honored by Cristian Rivera Foundation
Dr. Mark Souweidane (left) being honored by the Cristian Rivera Foundation
September 20, 2012
Mark M. Souweidane, MD, Vice Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Pediatric Brain and Spine Center, was honored with the Vision of Hope Award on September 13, 2012 at the 4th Annual Cristian Rivera Foundation Celebrity Gala. The award was given for Dr. Souweidane's "steadfast determination to find a cure for DIPG and alleviate the suffering of children across the country" afflicted with the disease.
The gala is held each year to mark the birthday of Cristian Rivera, who died in 2009 at age 6 after a two-year battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. The Cristian Rivera Foundation, begun by Cristian's father, John Rivera, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the research work of Dr. Souweidane, who was Cristian's neurosurgeon.
In May, Dr. Souweidane began an innovative Phase I clinical trial testing the safety of a groundbreaking new treatment delivery method for DIPG. The proceeds from the annual gala help support that trial as well as other research of the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center.Dr. Patsalides Opens Clinical Trial for Metastatic Spine Tumors
Dr. Athos Patsalides
September 12, 2012
Dr. Athos Patsalides is now enrolling patients in a Phase I clinical trial on spinal metastatic disease (SMD). This new trial will test the safety of a new minimally invasive treatment called spinal intra-arterial chemotherapy (SIAC) in patients with SMD. Get more details about the trial.Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center Enrolls Final Patient for Phase II Trial of ICT-107 for Glioblastoma
The last of 278 patients has been enrolled in a Phase II trial of a potential new cancer vaccine for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a milestone that was reached here at Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center. Weill Cornell is one of 25 sites participating in the trial, which began in January of 2011. The trial is a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics' dendritic cell-based ICT-107, which uses the patient's immune response to kill tumor cells.
In this trial, white blood cells from a patient are cultured in a laboratory with purified antigens, similar to those on GBM cells, then given back to the patient as a vaccine over several months. The goal is to stimulate the patient's immune response to kill any GBM tumor cells that remain after surgery and chemotherapy.
Dr. John Boockvar, director of the Brain Tumor Research Group at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, is hopeful about the trial's prospects. "Previous Phase I study results show the vaccine may improve patient survival by enabling them to remain disease-free longer when the vaccine is combined with standard treatments," he says. The current Phase II trial will collect data on progression-free survival and overall survival in participants, with results to come in early 2013.Fourth-Year Resident Heather H. McCrea, MD, PhD, Awarded 2012-2013 NREF Research Grant
Heather McCrea, MD,
Heather H. McCrea, MD, PhD, a fourth-year neurosurgery resident, is among ten researchers awarded grants for 2012-2013 by the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF). Dr. McCrea's study is titled "The Role of Angiocrine Expression of Notch Ligands in Glioma Progression." She is sponsored by Shahin Rafii, MD.
The NREF provides research funding opportunities as a means to make advances in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions such as brain tumors, strokes and spinal disorders. Applications for the grant were reviewed by the NREF's Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Once submissions were evaluated, the SAC provided funding recommendations to the NREF's Executive Council.
For More about NREF Fellowship Program, visit www.aans.orgJared Knopman, MD, Joins the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center
Jared Knopman, MD
Jared Knopman, MD, has joined the faculty of Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center. Dr. Knopman specializes in the treatment of vascular diseases of the brain and spine.
Dr. Knopman received a B.A. and graduated Cum Laude and with Honors from Northwestern University. He received an M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he was elected to the AOA honor society. Dr. Knopman did his surgical internship and neurosurgical residency at Weill Cornell Medical College/Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital, where he also served as Chief Resident. Dr. Knopman did specialized fellowship training in endovascular neurosurgery/interventional neuroradiology at Weill Cornell Medical College. He has expertise in treating a diverse array of diseases of the brain and spine, including degenerative spinal disease, brain tumors, and aneurysms, using innovative and minimally invasive approaches.Dr. Souweidane and Dr. Greenfield Lead Weill Cornell in the 2012 Miles for Hope (MFH) / Moving Towards a Cure 5K
Neurosurgeons Dr. Souweidane and Dr. Greenfield led the Weill Cornell Team at the 2012 Miles for Hope (MFH) / Moving Towards a Cure 5K Brain Tumor Awareness Run/Walk. Nearly 700 runners participated in the event, which took place on July 21st in Riverside Park in New York City and raised more than $75,000. A large portion of the proceeds provide funding for research by the Children's Brain Tumor Project at the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center.
Dr. Boockvar Appears on CNBC's Squawk Box
Dr. John Boockvar, director of the Brain Tumor Research Lab, appeared with former Rep. Patrick Kennedy and analyst Franklin Berger to discuss the state of funding for brain tumor research. The interview was a follow-up from the 2012 Brain Tumor Biotech Summit held at Weill Cornell on June 8.
Dr. Stieg Honored as Champion of Heart and Stroke
Dr. Philip Stieg, Neurosurgeon-in-Chief, was honored as one of this Champions of Heart and Stroke at the New York City Heart Ball on June 19. The annual Heart Ball is the premier event of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, bringing together business leaders, physicians, professionals, philanthropists, and other prominent community members to help raise funds for heart and stroke research. Dr. Stieg is third from left in this photo of this year's honorees.
Dr. John Boockvar and his patient Dennis Sugrue were featured in an NY1 segment about Sugrue's experience in Dr. Boockvar's clinical trial using Avastin. Sugrue, a hedge fund manager, had been diagnosed with an aggressive malignant brain tumor and given five months to live - that was three years ago. Dr. Boockvar and Sugrue spoke about the medical miracle at the recent Brain Tumor Biotech Summit at Weill Cornell. Watch the video.
Schwartz Lab Awarded NIH Grant
Congratulations to Dr. Theodore Schwartz, whose epilepsy lab won a prestigious National Institutes of Health grant to research laser-based methods to stop seizure propagation. Conducted in collaboration with Chris Schaffer, PhD, an associate professor in Cornell's department of biomedical engineering in Ithaca, the research will use two-photon lasers to prevent the initiation and spread of seizures. The grant will be shared between Weill Cornell's campuses in New York City and Ithaca.
Spine Center and Dr. Boockvar Lauded by Becker's
Congratulations to Dr. John Boockvar, named one of the top 20 spine surgeon leaders of spinal oncology programs by Becker's Spine Review. Dr. Boockvar is the co-director of the Brain and Spinal Tumor Program and co-director of surgical neuro-oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Our Spine Center was also recently named to Becker's list of "101 Hospitals With Great Spine and Neurosurgery Programs," which credited our program for its "interdisciplinary and cautious approach to treatment. The center helped spearhead the use of minimally invasive surgery for spinal conditions and continues to advance spine treatments through ongoing research trials."
6 Weill Cornell Neurosurgeons Named Top Doctors
Six neurosurgeons from the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center have been named to the Castle Connolly list of Top Doctors for the New York metro area. This year the Castle Connolly list includes Dr. John Boockvar, Dr. Roger Härtl, Dr. Michael Kaplitt, Dr. Theodore Schwartz, Dr. Mark Souweidane, and department chairman Dr. Philip Stieg, who is on the list for the eleventh straight year.
Each year, Castle Connolly Medical releases a list of the top tier of doctors across all disciplines, naming the top 10 percent of all physicians based on a rigorous peer nomination and evaluation process. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center was also recognized for having more top doctors than any other hospital in the nation.
Dr. Boockvar Named Chair of "Sounding Off for a Cure"
Dr. John Boockvar, Co-Director of the Brain and Spinal Tumor Program, has been named chair of "Sounding Off for a Cure," the seventh annual Voices Against Brain Cancer concert to support brain tumor research. The event, which includes the concert as well as special celebrity guests, food and drinks, and both silent and live auctions, will be held starting at 6pm on Thursday, June 14, at the Hammerstein ballroom, in the Manhattan Center Studios at 311 West 34 Street in New York. More information and tickets available at Voices Against Brain Cancer.
Dr. Alba Brandes Named 2012 Michael Gruson Lecturer
Dr. Alba Brandes, Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology at Bellaria-Maggiore Hospital in Bologna, Italy, was named the 2012 Michael Gruson Lecturer in Neuro-Oncology. Dr. Brandes came to Weill Cornell to make the Grand Rounds lecture and visit with faculty and residents on Monday May 21.
Dr. Alba Brandes, center, was joined by Dr. Susan Pannullo and Dr. Hiroko Gruson at the 2012 Michael Gruson Lecture in Neuro-Oncology.
Dr. Brandes, like prior Gruson Lecturers, is an accomplished clinician/researcher of international importance to the world of neuro-oncology. She is widely recognized in Europe as a leader in the EORTC, has been a principal author in several important clinical trials, and is an expert on the use of MGMT, IDH-1 and other tests used to guide treatment and discussion of prognosis in patients with malignant gliomas. Dr. Hiroko Tsubota Gruson, Michael Gruson's widow, flew in from Japan for the lecture and dinner; she moved there a few months ago to aid in recovery efforts from the Japanese hurricane/tsunami.
Dr. Susan Pannullo, Director of Neuro-Oncology, established The Michael Gruson Lectureship in Neuro-Oncology in 2006. Mr. Gruson, a key figure in the world of international banking and a highly respected attorney in New York City, was under Dr. Panullo's care until his passing in 2005. Due to the generosity of the Gruson family, the department has sponsored a yearly lecture highlighting internationally renowned researchers and clinicians in the field of brain and spinal tumors. Speakers are chosen not only on their outstanding work, but based on qualities demonstrated by Mr. Gruson during his lifetime -- academic excellence, a pioneering spirit, and an ability to form international partnerships.
Dr. Rubin Presents at New York State Neurological Society Meeting
David Rubin, MD, a fifth-year resident in neurosurgery, presented "Viral mediated gene therapy for neurodegenerative disease" at the NY State Neurological Society meeting on Friday, June 1, at the Harvard Club in New York.
Dr. Boockvar Featured in "Emerging Tech Report" Newsletter
The May 2012 issue of the Forbes/Wolfe Emerging Tech Report includes an interview with Dr. John Boockvar, Co-Director of the Brain and Spinal Tumor Program. The interview, published in advance of the June 8 Brain Tumor Biotech Summit at Weill Cornell, covers the challenges and rewards of his work as well as excitement at being on the frontier of brain tumor research.
Read the full interview here.
Weill Cornell Neurosurgeons Named to the 2012 List of Super Doctors
Drs. Eric Elowitz, Roger Härtl, Michael Kaplitt, Theodore Schwartz, and Mark Souweidane have been selected for inclusion on the list of 2012 New York Super Doctors, which selects only five percent of all doctors in the state for each year's listing. Nominated by their peers and evaluated by an independent research company, physicians are included in the Super Doctors listing if they are judged to have attained the highest level of professional achievement along with the respect of other physicians in their field.
Dr. Philip Stieg Talks About Repeated Concussions, Depression, and the Death of the NFL's Junior Seau
Dr. Stieg appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss the effect of repeated concussions on the brain, in light of the apparent suicide of San Diego Chargers star Junior Seau.
Weill Cornell Medical Students Win Prestigious Fellowships
Three Weill Cornell medical students have been awarded fellowships based on the mentorship of the faculty at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center. These students continue a long history of awards received by students who have trained in the Department of Neurological Surgery.
Bryan Iorgulescu, a second-year medical student who has been researching novel therapies for pediatric brain tumors with Dr. Mark M. Souweidane, has been awarded a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship at the UCSF School of Medicine for the 2012-2013 school year. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation awards distinguished fellowships that foster medical students' passions for pursuing careers in clinical research. Iorgulescu's fellowship, with UCSF's Dr. Manish Aghi, will build upon Dr. Souweidane's pioneering research on innovative treatment approaches for devastating brain tumors, including convection-enhanced delivery, immunotherapies, and virotherapies.
First-year medical student Kunal Patel has been awarded a Medical Student Summer Research Fellowship by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Patel's winning project is "Vagal nerve stimulation for tumor-associated epilepsy." The prestigious AANS fellowship is open to medical students who wish to spend a summer working in a neurosurgical laboratory, mentored by a neurosurgical investigator. Patel's research will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Theodore Schwartz, who heads the epilepsy surgery program at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center.
Darya Khazanova, a first-year student of Dr. Michael Kaplitt, has been awarded a fellowship from the Parkinson's Disease Foundation for her summer 2012 project. The foundation's Summer Fellowship Program supports students in their pursuit of Parkinson's-related research projects. Dr. Kaplitt will oversee Khazanova's research on "Interaction of p11 protein with D1 and D2 dopamine receptors," which will investigate the pathways involved in the symptomology of Parkinson's Disease and L-DOPA induced diskynesia by further characterizing the role of the P11 (S100A10) protein on dopamine signaling in the dorsal striatum.
Yaroslav Gelfand, another student of Dr. Kaplitt, is now completing his 2011-2012 Howard Hughes Medical Fellowship, awarded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute to encourage medically trained students to become physician-scientists. Gelfand's project is "P11 and its binding partner Annexin A2 as potential gene therapy for drug addiction."
Find out more about Residency, Fellowship, and Continuing Medical Education opportunities at the Department of Neurological Surgery
Neurological Surgery Researcher Wins Intercampus Grant
Dr. Mingrui Zhao, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience in Neurological Surgery and a researcher in Dr. Theodore Schwartz's epilepsy laboratory in New York, has been awarded a $50,000 intercampus seed grant from Cornell University. Dr. Zhao's research project, "Focal seizure localization by mapping excitatory and inhibitory neural activity," will be conducted in collaboration with Dr. Chris Schaffer, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Ithaca campus.
Dr. Greenfield Awarded Grant for Research on How Low-Grade Pediatric Tumors Transform Into Malignancies
Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Matthew Larson Foundation to support his research into how low-grade tumors are transformed into high-grade gliomas through the involvement of bone-marrow-derived cells (BMDCs). Since many malignant gliomas in children and adolescents begin as low-grade tumors, identifying the mechanisms by which they are transformed may hold the key to identifying patients at high risk for malignancy - and lead to treatments that could block that transformation.
Dr. Greenfield's research team has been exploring this novel approach to pediatric brain tumors for two years, and has recently identified brain-tumor derived exosomes - subcellular particles in tumors that have the ability to bypass the blood-brain barrier - that fuse with BMDCs in the bone marrow. That fusion may be what mobilizes the BMDCs back to the primary brain tumor site and triggers the "angiogenic switch" that turns on new vascular growth and precipitates the transformation from low-grade tumor to a highly invasive malignancy.
The concept that BMDCs support the formation of new blood vessels in brain tumors, leading to explosive growth, is a new one that needs more exploration. Dr. Greenfield's novel research may be applicable to a wide range of pediatric brain tumors.
Dr. Mark Souweidane has been given a gift of $97,000 from The Cure Starts Now to support his research into children's brain tumors. Dr. Souweidane recently received approval to begin an innovative new trial testing Convection Enhanced Delivery (CED) to deliver a radioactive agent directly to the site of the pontine glioma, bypassing the blood-brain barrier. Read more about the trial.
Drs. Schwartz and Anand Publish New Book on Pituitary Surgery
Dr. Theodore H. Schwartz and Dr. Vijay K. Anand have just released their newest book, Endoscopic Pituitary Surgery, a comprehensive guide to clinical management of pituitary tumors. Endoscopic Pituitary Surgery is the first major reference work on pituitary surgery in nearly ten years, and is a must-have guide for all physicians who are involved in the care of patients with pituitary tumors, particularly those patients who may need surgery. The volume includes contributions from a variety of distinguished experts and features decision-making algorithms on managing hormone-producing and non-hormone-producing tumors. The book covers surgical techniques, patient selection, and endocrine and neuro-ophthalmologic considerations, and also includes an in-depth discussion of the merits of endoscopic versus microscopic tumor resection. It is available from the publisher, Thieme, as well as other online booksellers.
Brain Tumor Center Announces 2012 "Brain Tumor Biotech Summit"
The Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center and the Weill Cornell Cancer Center will co-host an innovative one-day event on June 8, 2012, featuring interactive lectures and networking dedicated to emerging targets, therapeutics, and strategies against brain cancer. The event will include physicians, surgeons, oncologists, scientists, analysts, venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, and top leaders from nonprofits and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. View Preliminary Agenda. Registration is now open (click here to register online). For additional information, please email Dr. John Boockvar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like us on Facebook for up-to-the minute news about the summit and other department updates.
Six Weill Cornell Neurosurgeons Named as U.S. News Top Doctors
U.S. News and World Report magazine has become well known for its annual listings of Top Hospitals, Top Health Plans, and Top Nursing Homes. New this year, its list of Top Doctors confers the "Top" distinction on the best physicians and surgeons in the country, as nominated by their peers and selected by U.S. News and Castle Connelly Medical. We're proud to have six of our neurosurgeons on this first edition of the list: Dr. Philip E. Stieg, Dr. John Boockvar, Dr. Roger H�rtl, Dr. Michael Kaplitt, Dr. Theodore Schwartz, and Dr. Mark Souweidane. The distinction of being a Top Doctor adds to the prestige of being associated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, a veteran of the Top Hospitals list. The 2011-2012 list shows NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital #4 in the nation for neurological surgery -- and #1 overall in New York.
Neuroscience Physician Assistants Awarded for Making Patients' Hospital Stay Safer
On September 21, 2011, the Clinical Documentation and Coding Services Department presented the 2011 Clinical Documentation Program Award to Suzan Wollard, Chief Physician Assistant for the Department of Neurological Surgery, and Rich Cassa, Senior Physician Assistant for the Department of Neurology, who accepted the awards on behalf of all of the Neuroscience Physician Assistants who are making a difference in patients' hospital stay. Outstanding documentation is essential in communicating with the team of medical providers caring for each of our patients. We are proud of this award, which represents a safer and better hospital experience for our patients.
Documentation Specialist Virginia Bjornton presents the 2011 Clinical Documentation Program Award to Suzan Wollard, Chief Physician Assistant for the Department of Neurological Surgery, and Rich Cassa, Senior Physician Assistant for the Department of Neurology.
September 26, 2011
Dr. Susan Pannullo, Director of Neuro-Oncology in the Department of Neurological Surgery, is the lead author of a chapter in a book released today, "Diagnostic Techniques and Surgical Management of Brain Tumors." Dr. Pannullo's chapter, "Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Tumors" is available as a free downloadable PDF. Get the chapter here.
September 21, 2011
Dr. Athos Patsalides and Dr. Mark Dinkin are now enrolling patients in a new FDA-approved clinical trial evaluating venus sinus stenting in patients with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH, also known as pseudotumor cerebri). Many patients with IIH have not responded to existing medical and surgical treatments, which have also produced unwanted side effects.
Get more details about the trial. Download PDF of trial information.
September 13, 2011
Dr. Mark Souweidane thanks the donors at the Cristian Rivera Foundation gala for their gift of $100,000 to support his research. Presenting the check is Ralph Mercado III, a member of the committee of the Cristian Rivera Foundation.
At a star-studded gala at the Copacabana in New York last night, Mark M. Souweidane, MD, received a $100,000 gift to support his search for a cure for Diffuse Infiltrative Pontine Glioma (DIPG). The award, from the Cristian Rivera Foundation, was made in honor of Cristian Rivera, who lost his battle with DIPG in 2009 at the age of 6. Dr. Souweidane, who treated Cristian, is heading up a new initiative to find new therapies and solutions for DIPG, an inoperable, incurable brain stem tumor that claims 200 lives a year – mostly children under age 10.
The gala was the third annual event for the Foundation, which was created by John "Gungie" Rivera, Cristian's father. Dr. Souweidane and his research are the sole beneficiaries of the Foundation's fund-raising efforts, which are supported by an impressive list of committee members, including Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson, award-winning actor Luis Guzman, former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, celebrity chef Alex Garcia, legendary producer John "Jellybean" Benitez, and former New York Knicks all-star Anthony Mason.
September 21, 2011
Dr. John Boockvar appeared on a segment of The Dr. Oz Show to talk about the leading risk factors for brain cancer, and ways to reduce those risks. In this video clip, Dr. Boockvar reassures a headache sufferer with the news that, while headaches are common, brain tumors are very rare. Watch the video to hear Dr. Boockvar on CT scans, cell phones, and how he diagnoses brain tumors.
September 22, 2011
Dr. Theodore Schwartz from Neurological Surgery and Dr. A. Gabriella Wernicke from the Department of Radiation Oncology were featured in a video segment on WPTV about their groundbreaking procedure using radiation seeds to target a brain tumor. In this patient, breast cancer had metastasized to her brain; traditionally, surgery to remove the tumor would have been followed by a healing period before radiation could begin. Too often that period allows cancer cells to take root again. By implanting the Cesium-131 seeds directly into the surgical site, Drs. Schwartz and Dr. Wernicke allowed radiation therapy to begin quickly - and they spared the patient a second procedure. See related news item for more information.
Brain Power: Dr. Schwartz Featured in Crain's
Dr. Theodore Schwartz's pioneering work with three-dimensional endoscopic surgery was featured in the August 22-28, 2011, edition of Crain's New York. These techniques are being used in the operating room for Dr. Schwartz's work with brain tumors and epilepsy; in the laboratory he is testing these minimally invasive approaches on animals to see seizures occurring in real time, with the goal of being able to predict - and stop - seizure in humans. See the article
Dr. Boockvar Gets FDA/IRB Approval for New Study for Patients With Vestibular Schwannoma
Dr. John Boockvar will lead a new trial using intraarterial chemotherapy for vestibular schwannoma (VS). A recent study showed that IV Bevacizumab (trade name Avastin) treatment was followed by clinically meaningful hearing improvement, tumor-volume reduction, or both in some, but not all, patients with vestibular schwannoma who were at risk for complete hearing loss or brain-stem compression from growing VS. Because of these promising results in preliminary studies of IV Bevacizumab and because of our significant experience with the safety of intraarterial chemotherapy, this novel study will offer a safe treatment for patients with VS. This will be the only center in the United States where this trial is being offered. If you would like more information on the trial please call 212-746-1996 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Theodore Schwartz Publishes Results of Promising Epilepsy Research
Nearly a third of all epilepsy patients do not respond to conventional drug treatments, and only a fraction of those are candidates for surgical solutions. New research published in the journal Neurotherapeutics holds promise for an alternative approach. Dr. Theodore Schwartz of the Neurosurgery Department collaborated with Dr. Stewart Anderson from the Department of Psychiatry in a newly released study that shows how brain cell transplants stopped seizures in a rat model. See the abstract and download the paper.
Drs. H�rtl and Bonassar Publish Results of "Living" Spinal Disc Implants
Dr. Roger H�rtl, Director of Spinal Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Dr. Larry Bonassar, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, report success in their laboratory tests of living, tissue-engineered replacement discs for patients with degenerative disc disease. The new artificial discs are designed to integrate into the spine and improve over time as they generate new growth. The researchers hope this next generation of disc implants will replace today's artificial implants, which can degenerate in the body. The promising results were published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and were reported in the Cornell University Chronicle as well as in Discovery News.
Lauren Rotman Awarded 2011 American Brain Tumor Association Medical Student Summer Fellowship
Lauren Rotman, a Cornell alumna and first-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, was awarded a prestigious American Brain Tumor Association Medical Student Summer Fellowship, with Dr. Mark Souweidane's mentorship. The Summer Fellowship is to train aspiring medical students to be next-generation physicians conducting brain cancer research in addition to medical service. Lauren is pursuing a novel multi-drug targeted approach to treating diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) with Drs. Mark Souweidane and Zhiping Zhou.
Dr. Boockvar Appointed to Journal of Neuro-oncology Editorial Board, Reappointed to AANS/CNS Tumor Section
Dr. John A. Boockvar, Co-Director of the Brain and Spinal Tumor Program at Weill Cornell Medical College, was recently selected for a second term to the Executive Committee for the AANS/CNS Tumor Section. He will serve another three-year term and oversee Research and Funding. The Executive Committee includes national and international leaders in the field of surgical and medical neuro-oncology. In addition, as of July 1, 2011, Dr. Boockvar became an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Neuro-oncology, the official journal of the Tumor Section of the AANS/CNS.
Three "All-Star" Awards Presented at Second Annual Lids4Kids Event
The Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center hosted the second annual Lids4Kids event on June 18, 2011. The gathering is a celebration of the return to health of pediatric neurosurgery patients as well as an opportunity to spread awareness of head protection. Dr. Mark Souweidane and Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield, pediatric neurosurgeons, traded scrubs for baseball caps as Team Souweidane faced off against Team Greenfield in a softball game on the Great Lawn in Central Park. Twelve raffle winners took home new bicycle helmets, and three All-Star Awards were presented: to Kelly DeMarrais and Connor Ventura, young athletes who shared their Chiari surgery stories as a way of inspiring others, and Patti Ventura, whose tireless fund-raising and awareness campaigns have been an enormous benefit to patients and families. See more photos on our Facebook page.
Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield (left) and Dr. Mark Souweidane (right) joined award winners Kelly DeMarrais, Patti Ventura, and Connor Ventura at Lids4Kids 2011.
Dr. Pannullo Leads Brain Tumor Walk
On June 18, 2011, Dr. Susan Pannullo led the first-ever 5K New York Brain Tumor Walk on Governor's Island, which raised nearly $300,000 for brain tumor research. Dr. Pannullo, Director of Neuro-Oncology and Neurosurgical Radiosurgery at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center and also Research Chair for the National Brain Tumor Society, led Team Cornell in the New York event, one of nine events going on nationwide in support of brain tumor research and quality-of-life issues for those affected. See photos from the walk.
Susan C. Pannullo, MD, Receives Spirit Award for Brain Tumor Work
On May 28, 2011, Dr. Susan C. Pannullo, Director of Neuro-Oncology and Neurosurgical Radiosurgery at The Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center and a member of the board of the National Brain Tumor Society, was honored with a Spirit Award from the New York Mets as a part of Brain Tumor Awareness Night. Dr. Pannullo is chairing the New York event of the first-ever NBTS Brain Tumor Walk, to be held on Governors Island on Saturday, June 18, to raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research. More information about the walk.
Dr. Susan C. Pannullo (third from right) and key committee chairs for the first NBTS Brain Tumor Walk receive their Spirit Awards on the field at Citi Field.
Neurology and Neurosurgery Honors 7 for Reaching 25-Year Mark
On March 15, 2011, the Neurosurgery and Neurology departments hosted a celebration honoring our peers for serving more than 25 years in Neuroscience.
From left to right: Wendy Friedmann, Staff Radiology Technologist; Ruth Shariff, Registered Nurse; Dorothy Phinn, Registered Nurse; Sybil Marshall, Nursing Assistant; and Marie Dominique, Registered Nurse. Not present: Randy Capella, Supervisor of Interventional Neuroradiology, and Lisa Holtzman, Registered Nurse.
On Saturday, June 18, 2011, National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) board member Dr. Susan C. Pannullo, Director of Neuro-Oncology and Neurosurgical Radiosurgery at The Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, will steer the first New York-based Brain Tumor Walk to be held on Governors Island. The all-ages 5K event is one of nine walks that will take place in other US cities during the year to raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research. Team Cornell will be led by volunteers from The Brain and Spine Center who will walk in support of the $1 million fundraising goal for innovative research and services to help the more than 210,000 adults and children diagnosed with brain tumors each year in the US. Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in children under 20 years of age and the second leading cause of cancer death in young adults 20- to 39-years of age.
Dr. Pannullo is also Research Chair for the NBTS, a nonprofit organization that funds strategic research and delivers support services to address quality-of-life issues for those affected by brain tumors. Over the past 3 years, the NBTS has funded more than $10 million in brain cancer research.
The New York Brain Tumor Walk begins at 7 AM. . Programs and activities run from 8:30am to noon. Register at www.BrainTumorWalk.org/NewYork. For more information contact NYWalk@braintumor.org or call toll-free 866.455.3214.
Intracavitary brachytherapy is a minimally invasive technique used to line a surgical cavity with radioactive seeds - cancer-fighting radioisotopes encased in capsules the size of a rice grain - after removal of malignant disease. This procedure delivers high-dose radiation to the tumor cavity margin to prevent recurrence of microscopic disease in patients with malignant brain tumors. Dr. Schwartz and Dr. A. Gabriella Wernicke from the Department of Radiation Oncology, were the first to perform the 15-minute procedure with cesium-131 - a radioactive isotope with a shorter half-life and higher energy level than other agents in use, assuring rapid and safe delivery. The radioactive isotopes release a radiation dose tailored to individual patient needs over a period of days. For patients with malignant brain tumors, the use of cesium-131 seeds can eliminate the need for additional external radiation therapy. In some patients, implantation of brachytherapy may offer hope for additional therapy to maintain their quality of life when other treatments have failed. This medical achievement was made possible by a collaborative effort between Dr. Schwartz's team, Dr. Wernicke's department, of Radiation Oncology and IsoRay Medical�„�, the company that makes the radioactive seeds. For more information, please call the office of Dr. Schwartz at 212-746-5620.
On Thursday January, 12, 2011 Dr. Mark Souweidane performed a pioneering surgical procedure on a 6-year-old child with a late-stage malignant brain stem tumor, a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Using a stereotactically guided micro-catheter, Dr. Souweidane directly infused the tumor with a virus that kills the virus. This approach, known as virotherapy, uses tumor killing viruses to replicate selectively in tumor cells, leaving normal cells untouched. Just days after the procedure, the child appears to be doing well and without surgical complications. It is hoped that this innovative approach will become an alternative treatment for other children with DIPG or other incurable brain tumors. The patient's parents selected Dr. Souweidane after exhaustive efforts to find the most innovative and promising therapy for their child all over the U.S. and Europe. Dr. Souweidane has spent over ten years conducting preclinical research on the feasibility of direct infusion for brain tumors in children. He is also the principal investigator of a Phase I clinical study for children with DIPG that should soon be open for patient enrollment.
Dr. Roger H�rtl, Director of Spinal Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Dr. Larry Bonassar, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, were awarded a $100,000 NFL Charities research grant honoring their collaborative groundbreaking work on tissue engineering for spinal disc degeneration. Dr. Bonassar's laboratory engineers intevertebral discs from sheep cells that grow, mature, and multiply on a natural mold to re-create a fully functional, implantable disc. Dr. H�rtl tests the discs by developing techniques for implanting them into the spines of animals with disc degeneration. Promising earlier work showed that engineered discs planted into healthy animals were able to maintain the appropriate pressure and support after 1 year. It is hoped that human trials can begin in approximately 5 years.
Dr. Theodore H. Schwartz, Director of Epilepsy Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, has been awarded a $650,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust, a British-based global charitable foundation committed to public health initiatives. The grant supports a collaborative research effort on the effect of epilepsy on blood flow and oxygenation in the brain. The project brings together the recognized neuroimaging and electrophysiology capabilities of Dr. Jason Berwick and his laboratory at the University of Sheffield in the UK with Dr. Schwartz's expertise in the study of brain function in epilepsy models. The 3-year project targets the enhanced use of neuroimaging technology for the presurgical localization of epileptic foci, which would improve surgical outcomes in epilepsy patients.
On June 26, 2010, the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and The Phyllis and David Komansky Center for Children's Health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, hosted its first annual "Lids for Kids" softball game at Battery Park City Field. The goal of the event was to celebrate our young patients and to educate parents and caregivers about pediatric head injury prevention.
See the live segment on NY1
Dr. Roger H�rtl and Dr. Larry Bonassar Receive Hansj�rg Wyss Award
Dr. Roger H�rtl, Chief of Spinal Surgery and Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Dr. Larry Bonassar, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, received the prestigious Hansj�rg Wyss Research Award from AOSpine and the Hansj�rg Wyss Foundation for their research project on biological disc replacement. They will be sharing the Award's $300,000 grant to support scientists and clinicians in the field of fundamental, translational, or clinical spine research with colleagues Dr. Harry Gebhard and Robby Bowles, of Cornell University's Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering team.
Dr. Philip Stieg, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital ,reports on the serious repercussions of head injuries and provides guidelines in the Spring/Summer 2010 Issue of Health News: The Newsletter of The Executive Registry.
Read the full story here.
Associate professor of clinical neurological surgery Susan Pannullo '83, MD '87, has been selected for the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women. Held at Drexel University, it is the nation's only program dedicated to preparing senior women for leadership positions at academic health centers. The 2010-11 class comprises fifty-four fellows from the U.S. and Canada.
Read the full story here.
Dr. Mark Souweidane was recently awarded a $91,740 grant from the Cure Starts Now Foundation to support the collaborative research between Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital with a novel Phase I study in children with Diffuse Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
Patient Receives World's 1st Selective Intraarterial Delivery of Chemotherapies Directly into a Brain Stem Tumor
Neurosurgeons from NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center performed the world's first intraarterial cerebral infusion directly into a patient's brain stem tumor.
Basic Science Award for Spinal Research
Dr. Harry Gebhard graduated from his AOSpine North America Fellowship Program with the distinguished Basic Science Research Award 2010, having worked with bioengineered intervertebral discs (IVD). The committee recognized his contributions to a translational and collaborative research project between Dr. H�rtl's team at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College
The Department of Neurological Surgery thanks Joan and Sanford I. Weill for their support of a new, state-of-the-art interventional neuroradiology suite. This new premier facility has enhanced the Department of Neurosurgery's delivery of advanced life-saving treatments for a variety of neurological conditions, from stroke to malignant brain tumors.
Grant Award for Pediatric Brain Tumor Research
Dr. Mark Souweidane was recently awarded a $91,740 grant from the Cure Starts Now Foundation to support the collaborative research between Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital with a novel Phase I study in children with Diffuse Pontine Glioma (DIPG). This trial will be utilizing a novel local delivery system called convection enhanced delivery (CED) to administer radio immunotherapy to children with an otherwise incurable tumor. For more information, including how to volunteer or participate in the study, please visit The Cure Starts Now Foundation website or contact Dr. Souweidane's office at 212-746-2363.
The Spine Center Welcomes Dr. Elowitz
The Department of Neurological Surgery welcomes Dr. Eric H. Elowitz, a specialist in minimally invasive surgical treatment of degenerative spinal disease, including herniated cervical and lumbar discs and spinal stenosis. Previously, he served as Co-Director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Center at Roosevelt Hospital and has presented many scientific papers at national neurosurgery meetings. Working at The Spine Center, he brings outstanding clinical expertise and is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art patient care in a personalized environment. Dr. Elowitz will be listed on our Minimally Invasive and Spine Center surgical services pages soon.
The procedure avoids all the inherent risks of implanted shunt devices including infection, breakage, bowel perforation, and shunt migration.
Patient Receives World's 1st Selective Intraarterial Delivery of Chemotherapies Directly into a Brain Stem Tumor
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Technique Opens Blood-Brain Barrier to Deliver High Dose Chemotherapy to Brain Stem Tumors
May Offer Treatment to Children with Incurable Brain Tumors
CNN Interview Addresses NFL Study on Football & Dementia
Brain injury acquired during sports, such as football and boxing, has long been an area of concern, not only for doctors, but for the parents of children who participate in competitive sports. In response to a recent NFL study linking football and dementia, an interview appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs show, including Chairman Dr. Philip E. Stieg, retired football player, Harry Carson, and a New York Times sports writer. Medical and ethical issues were explored.
[Click here for the CNN interview.]
Do cell phones cause brain tumors?
Dr. Philip E. Stieg, Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, addressed the question, "Do cell phones cause brain tumors?" in a Fox News interview with Bill Hemmer. Topics covered included types of radiation, use by adults versus children, important journal studies, and the expansion of cell phones in the United States and Europe. Dr. Stieg underscored the fact that brain tumor rates have remained relatively stable since the exponential expansion of cell phones over recent years.
[ Click here for the Fox News interview.]
Celebrating The Spine Center
On October 1, 2009, the Department of Neurosurgery held a party in the Griffis Faculty Club at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center to celebrate The Spine Center. The party was attended by The Spine Center staff, friends, fellows and colleagues.
[Article & Photos]
CNN Interview Addresses NFL Study on Football & Dementia
Brain injury acquired during sports, such as football and boxing, has long been an area of concern, not only for doctors, but for the parents of children who participate in competitive sports. In response to a recent NFL study linking football and dementia, an interview appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs show, including Chairman Dr. Philip E. Stieg, retired football player, Harry Carson, and a New York Times sports writer. Medical and ethical issues were explored.
[Click here for the CNN interview.]
Patient Satisfaction is Up: Platinum Standard Service Established
In 2008, department administrator Rick Paddy spearheaded an innovative program to upgrade patient satisfaction. Costumer service surveys indicate satisfaction levels have indeed improved. Entering its 2nd year, the program is a collaboration between Weill Cornell's Department of Neurosurgery and the Sloan Program in Health Administration on Cornell's Ithaca campus. Developments include a customer service manual for the department's support staff; courtesy features such as games, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku; and a pager that allows patients the freedom to step away from an unexpected lengthy stay in the waiting room.
New Faculty Welcome Party a Success
On September 23, 2009, the Department of Neurosurgery officially welcomed two new faculty members. Guests included members from the medical community at large as well as from departments within NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Both new faculty are already familiar faces in the department and bring outstanding expertise to the department that is expanding clinical coverage in pediatric neurosurgery and endovascular treatment of vascular diseases of the brain. Dr. Athos D. Patsalides had trained in the department, and Dr. Jeffrey P. Greenfield formerly served as a Chief Resident (click for bios).
Justin's Journey: A Home Run
All the bases were covered during a 2-part operation involving four neurosurgeons in the Department of Neurological Surgery. Drs. Souweidane, Greenfield, Schwartz and Riina combined efforts to ensure a healthy home run for Justin. Justin is 13-years old and has faced many medical challenges throughout his childhood. Dr. Souweidane operated on him when a blood vessel burst inside his brain-caused by an AVM (arteriovenous malformation). Later, a new complication developed --epileptic seizures. It came to a point where a very complicated 2-part operation was determined as the best treatment, and this would include a hemispherectomy-- removal of one side of the brain. The operation highlighted the multifaceted neurosurgical skills within the department. One of the perks along Justin's journey was when Brian Cashman-- having heard that Justin loved the Yankees-- hosted him for a game. "This is a lot better than watching the game on TV," said Justin.
[ Click here for the video or Read the story here ]
On the Road Again: Another Tanzania Humanitarian Mission & BLOG!!
Join the Blog/Stories From the Field - click here.
Dr. Hartl and his team of neurosurgeons and researchers are carrying out another exciting humanitarian mission to Africa. The program has the potential to greatly upgrade the way developing countries deliver health care. Working through Madaktari Africa Dr. Hartl explains, "We are doing hands-on training of doctors in Eastern Africa, empowering them with a high level of expertise in neurosurgical procedures."
Chairman Interviewed (WCBS) on the Prevention & Treatment of Stroke
Chairman, Dr. Philip E. Stieg, treated Rosemary McKeon for stroke. Rosemary's mother and sister suffered from strokes as well. Rosemary was experiencing a few of the hallmark symptoms-couldn't understand words, and even numbers, and some clumsiness in hand dexterity. Dr. Stieg performed surgery on Rosemary that has allowed her to regain an active life. She has returned to work and rides her bike every day and serves as a spokesperson for helping people recognize the symptoms of a stroke, and for promoting a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent a stroke. She and Dr. Stieg were interviewed by Dr. Max Gomez, WCBS, providing valuable information on what you need to know about preventing and treating a stroke. WCBS Interview & Stroke Educational Event/Open to the Public (read more)
Pet Therapy for Pediatric Patients
Aidan, a 4-year old patient of Dr. Mark M. Souweidane's, was skeptical at first about petting Max, a highly experienced pet therapy golden retriever. No problem: Max has seen it all, from the most welcoming of patients to the most reluctant, and all ages too. He, and his niece Gracie, another beautiful golden retriever, have been put through the training ropes to make sure they can easily tolerate groups of 10, canes falling down around them, loud noises, and other hazards in this line of work. [More]
Dr. Greenfield Joins Faculty
Jeffrey P. Greenfield, M.D., Ph.D., joins the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery on July 1, 2009 as an Assistant Professor in Neurological Surgery. Specializing in pediatric neurosurgery, Dr. Greenfield completed his Chief Residency in the department. [More]
HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED: MAKING PATIENTS FEEL WELCOME
If you look the word "hospitality" up in the dictionary, it says the friendly and generous treatment of guests. Dr. John Boockvar and the "Hospitality Committee" are ensuring that patients who come to the Department of Neurological Surgery at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center will receive a warm welcome. The hospitality team gathered on June 3rd for the official launch of this effort. Hospitality rounds have begun including the distribution of patient welcome packets filled with valuable information to help guide patients on their surgical journey. Packets are tailored to both in patients and out patients and include a welcome letter from the chairman, a summary of medical advancements in the department, biographies of the neurosurgeons on staff, critical phone numbers and photographs of physician extenders. [more]
National Stroke Month a Success
The departments of Neurological Surgery and Neurology/Neurosciences joined forces to make National Stroke Month a success. During the month of May, health outreach to the community included a panel discussion with four leading experts in the fields of neurology, neurosurgery and cardiology who spoke on the causes, prevention and treatment of stroke. The event drew 100 people and a question/answer session followed the presentation. A stroke "free" screening was also held at the hospital. [more]
The Gruson Memorial Neuro-Oncology Lectureship
Event: May 18,2009
Through the generosity of the Gruson family, and underwritten in part by Charles Schwab & Co., this year's Gruson Memorial Neuro-Oncology Lecture features Dr. Jerome B. Posner. Dr. Posner, a distinguished expert in the field of Neuro-oncology and Paraneoplastic Syndromes will speak at Grand Rounds on May 18, 2009 at 7:30am, Room F-639. Each year Dr. Susan Pannullo has spearheaded this event, recruiting outstanding leaders in their fields. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Jerome B. Posner. [More] - Lecture Topic: Glioblastomas
HELMETS A BIG PART OF SAFETY ON SLOPES
Natasha Richardson's tragic ski accident should remind everyone to strap on a helmet before setting foot on snow, industry experts said yesterday. [Read More]
Surgery Through a Straw: Deputy Fire Chief Receives Relief for Five-Alarm Back Pain
A Deputy Fire Chief, Tom Parsons, received immediate relief for five-alarm back pain that extended down the back of his leg, calf and foot. In fact, he walked out of the hospital a couple of days after Dr. Roger H�rtl came to his aid with "surgery through a straw."[more]
888-WCBACKS (888-922-2257): The Number to Call for the Best in Treatments for the Spine
The Spine Center (888-WCBACKS or 888-922-2257) offers a comprehensive approach to individual back care. The latest in minimally invasive surgical and non-surgical techniques are provided. The spine team formulates a treatment plan that may include physical therapy, medication, interventional pain management, acupuncture, movement therapies, or in some cases surgery. Dr. Roger H�rtl serves as Co-Director of the Center located at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, 525 East 68th Street, Floor 16. [PDF Brochure]
Dr. Mark Souweidane, a Hero to Children with Life-Threatening Brain and Spine Tumors
Dr. Mark Souweidane's skill in the operating room and his ability to help his young patients cope with life-altering illnesses, comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked with him or benefited from his internationally recognized expertise. [more]
No More Falls: Novel Two-stage Minimally Invasive Operation Proves Effective to Reach the Spine Through the Nose
It was truly a team effort in the Department of Neurological Surgery, and today patient Elizabeth Barry reports, "I am walking so much better. People who know me are amazed. I have had no more dizziness and no more falls." Her 11-year old daughter, Jennifer, adds, "Since my mom came home after this surgery, I can see she is much more independent." [more]
Chairman, Dr. Philip E. Stieg, Hosts Patterson Celebration: Professorship Launched
On December 5th, Dr. Philip E. Stieg hosted a day and evening to celebrate the remarkable career of Dr. Russel H. Patterson and to launch the Russel and Julie Patterson Professorship in Neurological Surgery. [more]
One of America's Top Surgeons: Dr. Howard A. Riina
Dr. Howard A. Riina has been listed in the Guide to America's Top Surgeons (Consumers' Research Council of America). Dr. Riina is one of a small cohort of neurosurgeons who offers two approaches for the treatment of cerebral aneurysms, microneurosurgical and the less invasive endovascular approach. He also serves as the Department's Director of the Residency Training Program, one of the most rigorous in the country. The department congratulates him on this recent honor. [more]
New Cornell Collaboration to set "Platinum Standard" in Patient Services
Over the last eight years, the Department of Neurological Surgery has forged several research collaborations with Cornell University, Ithaca Campus. Recently, it has ventured into a new and innovative direction to improve patient service - in fact, to set the "Platinum Standard" in patient care service. [more]
Epilepsy Resistant to Medicine Cured by Minimal Access Surgery
McGehee Porter, who has worked at Neuberger Berman for many years, is no stranger to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. [more]
Dr. Russel Patterson and the History of Neurological Surgery at Weill Cornell
The brightest minds in neurological surgery in New York and beyond gathered at the Rockefeller Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 5, for a special program highlighting the rich history of the field, and the groundbreaking contributions of one particular neurosurgeon. [more]
Spine Surgeon Brings Renewed Hope To Tanzania in Humanitarian Mission
Dr. Roger H�rtl had been collaborating with colleagues in Tanzania, and traveled to East Africa in order to deliver life-saving surgical equipment worth $432,000 that was generously donated by the company Synthes Spine, as well as a drill to perform neurosurgical and spinal procedures from Anspach. The President of Tanzania thanked the United States, the companies involved, and Dr. H�rtl at a celebration dinner. [more]
Spine Surgeon Saves Flight Attendant After Three Story Fall
"Writhing in pain inside a dilapidated hospital in the Dominican Republic, Brooklyn native Jessica Mazzone didn't think she'd ever walk again..." Read the rest of this article directly on the NY Daily News website.
Dr. Philip E. Stieg Named on "Best Doctors" List in New York Magazine
Dr. Stieg has been listed in the June 16, 2008 issue of New York Magazine as one of the "Best Doctors" in the field of neurological surgery. Physicians listed on "Best Doctors" are selected by their peers. [more]
Skull Base Course Attracts National & International Participants
The annual Skull Base Course in the Department of Neurosurgery, held on June 6 and 7, was a resounding success attracting participants from around the world and all regions of the Untied States.
The New York Times Magazine Highlights Department Surgeons
Drs. Howard A. Riina, Theodore H. Schwartz, and Mark Souweidane were listed on the Superdoctor's edition published in The New York Times Magazine, April 27, 2008.
Dr. Pannullo Receives the Gary Lichtenstein Humanitarian Award
Dr. Susan Pannullo, Director of The New York Brain Tumor Center in the Department of Neurosurgery, will be honored with the Gary Lichtenstein Humanitarian Award by Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC).
Shedding Some Light on Epilepsy
Epilepsy, convulsive seizures caused by disturbed electrical rhythms in the brain, affects 1-2% of the population of the United States.
Tissue-engineered Human Intervertebral Discs for Back Pain
The second leading cause of disability in America is degenerative disc disease (DDD). An estimated 12 million people suffer with back pain from DDD, with a million of them undergoing surgery each year.
Proactive Health Show "How to Save Your Life" Airs on WNYH
Dr. Philip E. Stieg is the host of "How to Save Your Life" on WAMC Northeast Public Radio. The show will be adding a New York radio station, WNYH, 740 AM.
Trailblazing Technique in Department of Neurosurgery Cures Patient of Giant Brain Tumor
In the Department of Neurological Surgery Virgil Perryman finally found a cure for the giant tumor lodged in his brain. Dr. Theodore H. Schwartz was the turning point.
Injured Window Washer Has Operation on Spine
"Dr. Boockvar said the three-and-a-half-hour operation had stabilized Mr. Moreno's spinal column, reducing the risk of neurological injury when he begins to move or walk. Mr. Moreno had a broken lumbar vertebra..." - Excerpt from New York Times
Breakthrough Procedure Saves Lives of Patients With Retinoblastoma
Today, there is new hope for treating retinoblastoma, a rare and often fatal eye cancer that affects children and adults, thanks to an innovative procedure using "chemosurgery" developed by Dr. Pierre Gobin and Dr. David H. Abramson.
Neil Young Recuperating Cancels Juno Awards Apperance On Advice Of Doctors
New York - April 1, 2005 - It was announced today that Neil Young will be unable to appear and perform on this year's Juno Awards, set for this Sunday, April 3rd in Winnipeg
Promising Results from First Gene Therapy Clinical Trial for Parkinson's Disease Reported in The Lancet
In what could be a breakthrough in the treatment of neurological disease, a team led by physician-scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has completed the first-ever phase 1 clinical trial using gene therapy to battle Parkinson's disease.
About The New York Brain Tumor Center
The New York Brain Tumor Center at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center is one of the country's most innovative and comprehensive brain tumor specialty programs. Created in 2002, The New York Brain Tumor Center provides a truly multi-disciplinary approach to brain tumor treatment and care in a warm, compassionate environment. Hundreds of patients each year seek care at The New York Brain Tumor Center for malignant brain tumors, such as Glioblastoma Multiforme, Anaplastic Astrocytomas and Oligodendrogliomas, and Brain Metastases, as well as for benign central nervous system tumors such as Acoustic Neuromas and Meningiomas.
Dr. Andy Cohen and Don Mattingly make a winning team for sports medicine.
Cutting edge "sports neurosurgery" is able to return the pro to the game and, for the rest of us, give us back our active lives.
Skull Base Surgery Conference & Skull Base Surgery Interactive Web Site.
The first 3-day Skull Base Neurosurgical Course with 3D technology and Virtual Reality was presented last December by Philip E Stieg, PhD, MD and Antonio Bernardo, MD at Cornell University.