Winter 2008 Issue

Brain Trust:
Bringing Cutting-Edge Brain Tumor Care To The Charlotte Region

As the primary provider of brain tumor services in the Charlotte region, Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates offers state-of-the-art treatment, participates in advanced research trials and coordinates patient support. We have made extraordinary efforts over the last several years to develop local research and treatment capabilities while contributing to national efforts designed to advance the science of brain tumor therapy.

A Local Commitment to Research
To help garner local support for brain tumor research efforts in our region, Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates established the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas. The purpose of the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas is to ensure that the Charlotte region takes its place as a center of world-class brain tumor research during this era of new discovery, thus making our area a destination for state-of-the-art, specialized brain tumor care. This fund relies on philanthropic contributions to sustain its efforts to provide new technologies, clinical research, and support services for brain tumor patients.

In addition, each year the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas hosts a professional cycling criterium to raise funds and awareness for local brain tumor research. This year’s event featured 130 cyclists and was held August 4th in Center City Charlotte in front of 30,000 spectators. The criterium and inaugural RuBiRu event, held October 27th on the UNC Charlotte campus, generated more than $560,000 for the fund.

For more information about the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas, call 704-821-0110 or go to

Types of Brain Tumors
Brain tumors remain among the most significant clinical challenges in medicine today. Fortunately, promising new therapies continue to offer hope for patients who develop brain tumors.

A tumor that starts in the brain is a primary brain tumor. About half of all primary brain tumors are benign, and half are malignant (cancerous). Meningiomas, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Anaplastic Astrocytoma, Medulloblastoma, and Ependymoma are examples of primary brain tumors. These types of tumors rarely spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer cells that begin growing elsewhere in the body then travel to the brain form metastatic brain tumors. Cancers of the lung, breast, colon and skin (melanoma) frequently spread to the brain via the bloodstream.

Clinical Trials Offer New Possibilities
Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates has established itself at the forefront of brain tumor research – all without the resources of a local medical school. In order to help advance the science of brain tumor care, we have developed cooperative cancer research programs with laboratory scientists at the FDA, UNC Charlotte, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania and other institutions.

Our clinical scientists currently offer a broad spectrum of treatment options for patients, including participation in early phase clinical research and large multi-institutional trials. Current protocols include unique combinations of chemotherapy, use of novel biologic agents for the treatment of primary brain tumors, and unprecedented quality of life analyses for patients with metastatic tumors. Our practice is also working closely with Southeast Radiation Oncology Group to assess the optimal application of Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) in patients with metastatic brain cancer. This treatment allows clinicians to noninvasively treat brain metastases while sparing surrounding normal brain tissue.

A Continued Focus
At Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, we remain committed to offering the best care possible for all patients with brain tumors, and we continue to investigate new concepts and partnerships in order to sustain and expand this effort. For more information about our research trials or our clinical brain tumor program, please contact program director Anthony Asher, MD, FACS, or our research department at 1-800-344-6716.

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