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Experts Present How Science and New Technology are Driving New Brain Tumor Treatments and Improving Quality of Life


Science and technology continue to improve all aspects of brain tumor care –from surgical advances and radiation, to new drug therapies and devices – according to Susan Chang, MD, director of the Division of Neuro-oncology at UC San Francisco.

Dr. Chang will moderate a session on how science and new technology are impacting the development of new treatments and advancing strategies to minimize treatment side effects at the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) National Patient and Family Conference in Chicago this week.

“It’s clear that through basic science discovery, insights into the biological behaviors of tumors can be effectively translated into novel treatments,” said Dr. Chang. “How we integrate technological advances into clinical care is what this session is going to be about. We have fantastic speakers who will address how research is moving their particular area of expertise forward.”

Mark D. Johnson, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will present the latest surgical advancements that are enabling neurosurgeons to provide patients with better recovery and prognosis.

“What surgery can accomplish today is far different than it was years ago because of the technology involved in mapping the brain. Surgeons now can determine where the tumor is in relation to healthy brain tissue to safely remove as much tumor as possible,” Dr. Chang said. “We can also give patients an agent which causes the tumor to fluoresce which allows the surgeon to see the tumor cells at the time of the operation, which is phenomenal.”

Erik P. Sulman, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will discuss the progress being made in radiation oncology treatments and cutting edge options now available to patients.

The experts will also address new ways of delivering drugs to the brain using sophisticated techniques such as nanoparticle technology.  This continues to be a promising area of research that explores packaging drugs more appropriately and in a more efficient way with the hope of delivering the drugs more effectively.  Immunotherapy is another topic that will be explored since effective treatments for melanoma and kidney cancer are now being tested in brain tumor patients.

Joon H. Uhm, MD, FRCPC, of the Mayo Clinic, will present promising drug therapies and new devices available to treat brain tumors such as tumor treating fields (TTFields) therapy.

“We are seeing advances in our understanding of the connection between the biological differences in tumors and a response to treatment moving at an unprecedented pace,” said Elizabeth M. Wilson, MNA, President and CEO, American Brain Tumor Association. “This conference is the only national meeting that brings together those at the forefront of this work with the patients and families seeking to make informed decisions.”

“I really applaud the ABTA for this conference because it is a unique opportunity for clinicians and researchers to meet with patients and families, to learn what they are going through, and for us to share the advances we’re seeing in our respective areas,” added Dr. Chang. “This is not an illness only of the patient. Every patient comes to their appointments with a family member, and they are often the ones who are the patient’s advocate. They want to know if they are doing enough, and they want to feel they are part of this process. The ABTA’s conference is a tremendous forum for learning and sharing information and we all benefit from the experience.”

The ABTA’s 2015 National Patient and Family Conference will take place July 24-25 at the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel, just minutes away from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. To learn more, visit

The ABTA’s national conference is the largest gathering of brain tumor patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and researchers, attracting more than 200 attendees who come together for two days of education, support, and networking opportunities. To see the full program schedule, go to

ABOUT THE AMERICAN BRAIN TUMOR ASSOCIATION Founded in 1973, the American Brain Tumor Association was first and is now the only national organization committed to funding brain tumor research and providing information and education on all tumor types for all ages. For more information, visit or call 800-886-ABTA FREE (2282).


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