Brain Tumor Treatments
Our Brain Tumor Center includes dedicated neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, neuro-oncologists, neuroradiologists, and neuropathologists to help develop your specific treatment plan. The neurosurgery team is experienced in all brain and spinal cord surgical approaches to brain tumors. The radiation oncologists have a state-of-the-art planning and treatment system for advanced treatment of brain tumors.
We utilize two sophisticated units for stereotactic radiosurgery. Conventional and experimental chemotherapy are available, and the program is a member of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) -- large national clinical trials collaborative groups. The Brain Tumor Board meets monthly to facilitate complex treatment decision-making.
Find out about some of our brain tumor treatments:
GBM Clinical Trial
Watch a video featuring Jim Black, a Moores Cancer Center patient enrolled in a clinical trial for the Novocure portable device, and Dr. Santosh Kesari, director of neuro-oncology.
For patients fighting recurrent gliobastoma multiforme (GBM), Moores Cancer Center is only a few clinical trial sites for a non-invasive treatment called Tumor Treating Fields (TTF), delivered using a portable device, the NovoTTF-100A System made by Novocure.
TTFs inhibit tumor growth by causing cancerous cells to die. The TTF procedure is delivered using non-invasive, insulated transducer arrays (electrodes) that are placed directly on the skin in the region of the tumor. The hat-like collection of electrodes connects to a portable device which is slightly thicker than a laptop and weighs about six pounds. The device sends a low intensity, alternating electric field into the tumor which prevents the cells from dividing and spreading and causes cancer cells to die.
UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center now offers this technically advanced, non-invasive brain tumor treatment that is delivered in a single day without the use of surgical incisions or invasive immobilization devices. This treatment, also known as frameless stereotactic radiosurgery, uses the Trilogy™ medical linear accelerator to send precisely focused, high-energy radiation beams directly to brain tumors – sparing the surrounding healthy tissues.
The advantages of this treatment:
- Non-invasive and often avoids complications and inconveniences of open surgery
- Used to target specific tumors, as opposed to traditional whole-brain radiation which can carry the risk of delayed dementia
- Greatly reduces the dose of radiation to the surrounding healthy tissue
- More comfortable for the patient, since it avoids the use of the traditional radiosurgery head frame that is screwed into the skull. Instead, the patient's head rests on a special headrest and an optical camera system makes adjustments in positioning the equipment as needed.
- Entire process, from physician consultation to treatment delivery, can be completed in less than a day
Conformal Fractionated Stereotactic Radiation Therapy
Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SRT) accurately delivers lower doses of focused radiation over a series of treatment sessions called "fractions." By treating the lesion with multiple fractions of a lower dosage of radiation, spaced over weeks of treatment, the SRT method enhances the biological effect on the tumor while decreasing the chances of radiation damage to nearby critical structures. This technique is particularly important in cases where tumors are adjacent to radiosensitive tissues such as the brain stem, eyes or optic nerves, or in pediatric tumors.