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Neuro-Oncology Program

The Neuroscience Institute's Neuro-Oncology Program is a unique collaboration between the medical center's Neuroscience and Cancer Institutes. The program provides comprehensive services to adults and children with primary brain tumors and metastatic lesions to the central nervous system, as well as complex spinal tumors. Each year, MMC treats hundreds of patients with brain and spinal tumors, including some of the most difficult cases in the state - a testament to the experience and expertise available here. The program is led by Medical Director, Devon Evans, M.D., an oncologist with particular expertise in the care of neuro-oncology patients.

A multidisciplinary team including medical oncology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuroradiology, pathology and palliative care work together to tailor treatment plans to the individual patient. These plans take into account the needs of each patient and family while providing state-of-the-art care. .

Program Highlights

  • Maine's most comprehensive, multidisciplinary team of specialists with expertise in tumors of the brain, spine and central nervous system
  • Outstanding neurosurgical expertise that is unparalleled in the state
  • A coordinated approach to care that also addresses the patient's and family's psychosocial needs
  • Integration with the Maine Center for Cancer Care, the state's flagship center for multidisciplinary cancer care
  • A full complement of leading-edge diagnostic and treatment services for adults and children - many of which are not available any place else in Maine
  • Access to novel therapies as part of MMC's ongoing participation in clinical trials
  • Specialized and personalized support for patients and family provided by a Neurosciences Patient and Family Liaison

Conditions Treated

The Neuro-Oncology Program treats some of the most common and rare brain and spinal tumors in both adults and children, including:

  • Anaplastic and low-grade astrocytomas
  • Ependymomas
  • Germinomas
  • Glioblastomas (GBM)/gliosarcomas
  • Mixed malignant gliomas
  • Meningiomas
  • Oligodendrogliomas
  • Primary CNS lymphomas
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (medulloblastoma, neuroplastoma, esthesiolneuroblastoma)
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma

Diagnostic and treatment resources

Among the wealth of diagnostic and treatment resources for brain and spinal tumors available at MMC are:

  • Advanced pre-surgical and intraoperative planning: Our neurosurgeons employ neuro-navigational technology that combines sophisticated imaging techniques and advanced computer software to visualize the brain in three dimensions and determine the precise location of a brain tumor - minimizing risk to surrounding areas of the brain and improving the extent of tumor removal.
  • Stereotactic radio surgery: This procedure allows for precise targeting of brain tumors otherwise unable to be removed with standard operating techniques.
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy: This technique of radiation treatment allows for higher doses of radiation to the tumor while protecting the surrounding brain tissue.
  • Awake craniotomy with language mapping: This technique can be used in certain cases when a tumor infiltrates brain tissue that affects an essential function such as speech. The patient is fully anesthetized during the opening and closing portions of surgery; after the brain is exposed, the patient is brought into a conscious state and relevant areas of the brain are stimulated to assess for function and pinpoint what tissue can be safely removed.
  • Chemotherapy: A full range of traditional chemotherapeutic agents and targeted molecular therapies are available.
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy: This radiographic technique assesses the metabolic status of a tumor, helping to differentiate between tumor recurrence and tissue necrosis.
  • Embolization: This approach is performed by an interventional neuroradiologist, reduces the blood supply to the cancer, often causing the tumor to shrink and making it easier to treat surgically or with radiation.
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