Celebrating groundbreaking achievements at The Princess Margaret for Brain Tumour Awareness Month

2018-05-24  |  Faces of The Princess Margaret |  Posted by: Sheri Block

May is Brain Tumour Awareness Month in Canada and to mark it, we’d like to highlight all the amazing work and research happening at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. 

Dr. Gelareh Zadeh, the Head of Surgical Oncology at UHN and neurosurgeon-scientist at The Princess Margaret, is one of the leaders in her field.

She says the team at The Princess Margaret has unparalleled surgical expertise.

“There is no equivalent of the degree of expertise, multidisciplinary care and integrated subspecialty care that we bring to management of brain tumors,” she says. 

Dr. Zadeh is also the Co-Lead of the MacFeeters Hamilton Centre for Neuro-Oncology Research, along with Dr. Kenneth Aldape.

Located in the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower, the centre brings together researchers and clinician-scientists from around the world to improve survival and outcomes for patients with brain tumours. 

The Centre has made significant advancements in understanding brain tumours with molecular profiling allowing for a more precise identification on the type of brain cancer, the stage and how aggressive it is. 

They are also identifying biomarkers in the DNA of a patient’s tissue that will allow for personalized treatment. Genetic testing will help doctors more accurately diagnose the tumour and the best course of treatment. 

A diagnostic reference centre is also being established where tumour samples from across the country are being sent for genetic testing for a more precise diagnosis. 

The revolutionary work by Dr. Zadeh and Dr. Aldape will transform the lives of brain cancer patients both here in Canada and around the world. 

The Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre, located at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, is also breaking new ground. 

With more than 2,500 patients seen each year, the Pencer Centre is North America’s foremost multidisciplinary brain tumour facility. 

Led by Dr. Warren Mason, the Pencer Centre also serves as a hub for brain tumour clinical trials in North America. In 2004, the centre made a groundbreaking discovery in the deadliest type of brain tumour, Glioblastoma Multiforme. 

The centre found a new combination of drugs that dramatically improves the prognosis, giving new hope to newly diagnosed patients. 

The Princess Margaret is also a leader in using new technology for surgical treatment, which includes real time diagnosis for brain tumours. Surgeons can diagnose the tumour at the molecular level and see how much tissue they need to remove during the first surgery to avoid multiple procedures. 

UHN has multiple dedicated brain tumour multidisciplinary clinics including a neurosurgical clinic at Toronto Western Hospital – with Drs. Zadeh, Mark Bernstein, Fred Gentili and Paul Kongkham – and a brain metastases clinic at Princess Margaret clinic including neurosurgical and radiation oncology care together with a focused Gamma Knife Program, Pituitary Clinic, Neurofibromatosis Clinic, Low-grade-glioma clinic and skull-base clinic. All clinics have subspecialty care, with specialists from neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuro-oncology, psychology, endocrinology, head and neck surgeons and allied health team.

A diagnostic reference centre is also being established where tumour samples from across the country are being sent for genetic testing for a more precise diagnosis.