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August 6, 2008 > Learn About New Frontiers in Brain Tumor Treatment

Learn About New Frontiers in Brain Tumor Treatment

Last year, Washington Hospital became the first in the United States to treat patients with brain tumors and other conditions of the brain using the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife PerfexionTM. This non-invasive technology has revolutionized the treatment of many serious neurological conditions, while offering patients greater hope of cure through a procedure that is essentially painless.
"The diagnosis of a metastatic brain tumor used to be considered a death sentence," says neurosurgeon Sandeep Kunwar, M.D., co-director of Washington Hospital's Gamma Knife Program. "Now, with improved treatment, many patients can be essentially cured of their brain disease and return home the same day. Even multiple tumors can often be treated at the same time."
According to Dr. Kunwar, Gamma Knife radiosurgery can now be used to treat metastatic brain tumors with a control rate of more than 90 percent. The Gamma Knife Perfexion is also used to treat benign brain tumors, poorly formed blood vessels (vascular malformations) and facial pain syndrome (trigeminal neuralgia). And, studies are being conducted to determine the technology's effectiveness in treating epilepsy.
Prior to the introduction of Gamma Knife radiosurgery, the standard treatment for brain tumors was open-brain surgery, possibly combined with radiation treatments administered on a daily basis for up to six weeks.
On Monday, Aug. 18, Dr. Kunwar will present an update about the current status of Gamma Knife treatment at Washington Hospital and discuss recent technological advancements in treating brain tumors and other neurological problems. The public is invited to attend the free seminar, "Gamma Knife: New Frontiers to Treat Brain Lesions."
Dr. Kunwar, who is internationally recognized for his expertise, innovation and leadership in the field of Gamma Knife radiosurgery, will explain how the Gamma Knife treats brain disorders without making a single incision. The seminar is being held during Neurosurgery Outreach Month, which is celebrated in August to help educate the public about what neurosurgeons do and the various diseases and injuries they treat.
"We'll also talk a little about the glioblastoma multiforme tumor, which is what Senator Edward Kennedy has," adds Dr. Kunwar. "Unfortunately, the new technology does have some limitations, and Senator Kennedy's brain tumor is not ideally suited for Gamma Knife treatment."
Today's more advanced imaging technology makes it possible to visualize brain tumors better than ever before. Once the tumor is defined, the Gamma Knife's powerful, precise capabilities make it possible to treat diseased tissue without affecting normal tissue less than a millimeter away. Benign tumors up to three centimeters in size can be effectively cured, and larger tumors may also be treatable.
The physicians and staff of Washington Hospital's Gamma Knife Program has more experience in the field of radiosurgery than nearly any other hospital in the United States. Their expertise, combined with the benefits of the advanced Gamma Knife Perfexion, make the program unrivaled in this country. The Gamma Knife Program is part of Washington Hospital's Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute. For more information about the institute's programs, visit, select "Services & Programs" and choose "Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute" from the drop-down menu.
The upcoming seminar will be held on Monday, Aug. 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. For more information, or to reserve your place, call Washington Hospital's Health Connection at 1-800-963-7070.

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