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Neuroscience Institute

Neuro-oncology

The AGH Brain Tumor Center provides both inpatient and consultative care for brain tumor patients throughout Western Pennsylvania and is in the lead position to advance neuro-oncological care throughout the 6 hospitals (1800 beds) of Allegheny Health Network. Coordinated care is provided by a dedicated team of a board-certified neuro-oncologist, neuro-surgeons, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists. The team provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment of newly diagnosed and recurrent primary or metastatic brain tumors. Long term neurological follow up of brain cancer survivors is coordinated and managed.

What neuro-oncological conditions do we treat?

  • Primary Brain Tumors in adults: Glioblastoma Multiforme, Astrocytoma, Oligodendroglioma, Ependymoma, Medulloblastoma and others
  • Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma
  • Metastatic brain tumors
  • Seizures due to brain tumors
  • Cognitive disorders due to brain tumors
  • Late neurological complications of brain tumor therapy
  • Neurological effects of cancer treatments
  • Central nervous system autoimmune or inflammatory conditions requiring chemotherapeutic treatment
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes due to systemic cancer
  • Pituitary Adenomas or malignancy
  • Carcinomatous meningitis
     

Neuroimaging capabilities (24 hour services) at the AGH main campus include:

  • 3 MRI scanners (1.5 Tesla)
  • 4 CT Scanners
  • Nuclear medicine CT/PET scanner and SPECT scanning
     

Neuroscience Units at the AGH Main Campus include:

  • 23 bed Neurointensive Care Unit
  • 42 bed Neuroscience Unit
  • 36 bed telemetry monitored unit
     

Referrals: 412-359-8848 or 412-359-8850


Associated Treatments

Multimodality Treatment


The AGH Brain Tumor Center employs a coordinated approach that begins with a regular meeting of neurosurgeons, neurologists, oncologists, radiation therapists and neuroradiologists to discuss and develop a medical management plan for each individual patient.

In the operating room, patients benefit from the surgical experience of team members as well as the latest technologies including image-guided navigation, awake craniotomies for function determination and preservation, and motor-evoked potentials to map critical brain areas.

The neurologist/oncologist accesses all of the latest chemotherapy and biological agents both as standard therapy, “off-label” therapy, and in the clinical trial setting for the benefit of our brain tumor patients. The Brain tumor center uses a variety of chemotherapeutic and biological approaches to control and cure the different types of brain tumors that occur. Specific regimens and approaches are individualized to fit each patient’s current disease and physical situation.

Radiation oncologists provide extensive therapeutic options to precisely deliver radiation to tumors while sparing surrounding tissue. Such techniques/devices include but are not limited to linear accelerator based radiosurgery-SRS, intensity modulated radiation therapy- IMRT, and fractionated stereotactic treatments. AGH physicians pioneered a focused therapy method in the treatment of metastatic brain disease that usually spares patients from potentially debilitating whole brain radiation.

Our neurosurgeons and other members of the neuro-oncology team actively participate in multiple oncology studies evaluating new therapeutic regimens. There also exists a joint program with endocrinologists for the evaluation, treatment, and research into the biology of patients with pituitary tumors.

Brain tumors that are treated by the AGH Brain Tumor Center:

  • Primary Brain Tumors
  • Metastatic Brain Tumors
  • Spinal Tumors
  • Pituitary Brain Tumors
  • Skull Base Tumors
  • Pediatric Tumors
     

Surgery

Frameless stereotactic navigation
Multiple Skull-based techniques
Neuro-endoscopy

Radiotherapy

Intensity modulated radiotherapy
3-D Conformal dose planning
Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Chemotherapy

Both oral and traditional intravenous chemotherapy is administered by the neurooncology physician, Dr. Kunschner. Dr. Kunschner also administers intrathecal chemotherapy when appropriate. Evolving treatment protocols are adjusted and updated regularly to improve therapies, as advances are made in the field of neurooncology. Education of patients and families is a high priority. Experimental clinical trials are at times recommended depending on a particular clinical situation and are an exciting option for some patients. Assistance with third party insurance carriers in coordinating chemotherapy treatments is provided. End-of-life care and careful involvement with hospice providers is also a focus.


Physicians

Physician Staff

  • Carol Schramke, PhD
    Neuropsychologist

Neurosurgery

  • Matthew Quigley, MD
    Surgical Director, Brain Tumor Program
  • Parviz Baghai, MD
  • Patrick Flannagan, MD
  • James Burgess, MD
  • Michael Oh, MD


Radiation Oncology

  • Russell Fuhrer, MD
  • Athanassios Colonias, MD
  • Steven Karlovitz, MD
  • Mark Trombetta, MD
  • David Parda, MD
  • Yousef Arshoun, MD
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