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A Place Where Science Meets Hope

March 15, 2020

Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center

Where Would You Turn if You Were Diagnosed with a Brain Tumor?

Each year, more than a thousand families turn to the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center in the heart of Atlantic Neuroscience Institute at Overlook Medical Center. The institute, the flagship of Atlantic Health System’s neuroscience capabilities, has been ranked No. 1 for neurosurgery in NY, NJ, CT and PA, and among the top 5% of the nation’s neuroscience programs five years in a row.

Here, patients and their loved ones navigate the journey from diagnosis through treatment. Throughout each step, they are surrounded by the support and guidance of a multidisciplinary team of experts who deliver state-of-the-art care with state-of-the-heart compassion.

“Being diagnosed with a brain tumor instantly transforms a person’s life … and the lives of those close to them. It carries shock, fear and fundamental worry about if things will ever be the same again. We understand that and treat patients as we would our own family,” says Robert Aiken, MD, co-director of the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center. “We provide a nearly unmatched host of programs and resources to help ease the worry, offer comfort and keep hope alive, all while focusing on delivering cutting-edge neuro-oncological care that may include participation in clinical trials.”

“We have designed a program that puts patients and families at the center of everything – the nation’s top medical experts, the latest minimally invasive and image-guided neurosurgical techniques, functional and awake brain mapping, neuro-oncologists dedicated to the treatment of brain tumors, molecular diagnostics in neuropathology that plays a key role in developing personalized tumor treatment plans, the region’s largest and most experienced CyberKnife® program, advanced clinical trials, and complementary integrative therapies,” explains Yaron Moshel, MD, PhD, co-director of the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center.

Expert Tumor Board

Every patient has access to a multidisciplinary panel of experts who specialize in neurosurgery, skull base surgery, neuro-oncology, radiation oncology, neuroradiology, neuropathology, neurology, and head and neck oncology. Together, they review each individual patient’s story, medical history, images and lab results. Then, they collaboratively develop individualized treatment plans that address benign or cancerous tumors of the brain, skull base, spine and spinal cord.

Patient Navigator

A patient navigator ensures every detail of the patient’s treatment plan is followed. They schedule all tests and imaging; coordinate follow-up appointments, surgery and treatments; handle logistical details such as insurance and disability claims; and connect patients and families to a host of resources designed to provide comfort and support.

Neuro Imaging

Diagnosing and treating brain tumors require top talent and from person to person – in real time during surgery. 

Advanced Surgery

Thanks to advances in anesthesia, Overlook neurosurgeons are performing a greater number of awake brain surgeries for functional language and motor mapping. “Every brain – just like every person – is unique and requires a customized approach to surgery,” adds Dr. Moshel. Many surgeons are hesitant to aggressively remove a tumor if it’s too close to critical brain structures that control important cognitive functions. Overlook neurosurgeons go into surgery with anatomical MRI images showing where the tumor is located, and with functional data showing how that tumor relates to the individual’s ability to speak, see, move, and think. Testing a patient’s cognitive functions while still in the operating room has led to improved outcomes for patients with otherwise inoperable brain tumors.

Dedicated Neuropathology

Pathology plays a huge role in the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors, and it begins while the patient is on the operating table. Overlook’s John-Paul Bouffard, MD – one of only about 1,000 physicians in the U.S. who are board-certified in neuropathology – performs intraoperative consultations and makes recommendations to the surgeon based upon what he sees microscopically. He also arranges a full histology and molecular genetic profile of every patient’s tumor to deliver personalized medicine and individually tailored post-surgical treatments.

The CyberKnife Advantage

CyberKnife® combines image guidance and robotics to deliver high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy. For patients with brain tumors, it can be used to treat the cavity that is left behind after the tumor is removed, or it can be utilized to treat a tumor deemed inoperable. More than 1,100 brain tumor patients have been treated at Overlook’s CyberKnife Center, the largest, most experienced program in the region. 

Clinical Trials

As a member of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cooperative Group System, the Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center offers patients access to novel therapies currently under investigation. Innovative clinical trials that target molecular abnormalities driving cancer growth as well as brain tumor vaccines, gene-directed treatments, and immunotherapies targeting brain tumors, are available to Overlook patients.

Supportive Services at the Glasser Center include:
  • Thomas Glasser Caregivers Center
  • Social Services
  • Nutritionist
  • Palliative Care
  • Behavioral Health
  • Physical Rehabilitation
  • Support Groups
  • Spiritual Counseling
  • Integrative Therapies (art therapy, massage, Reiki, pet therapy, music therapy)

 

More than 1,100 brain tumor patients have been treated at Overlook’s CyberKnife Center, the largest, most experienced program in the region.”

– Yaron Moshel, MD, PhD