Brain and neurological cancers treatment - VCU Massey Cancer Center

Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Neuro-oncology at Massey

With the only board-certified neuro-oncologists in the Richmond area, VCU Massey Cancer Center’s neuro-oncology team provides expert care for benign and malignant primary brain and spinal cord tumors, cancer metastatic to the nervous system, neurological complications resulting from cancer treatment and paraneoplastic syndromes.

 

  • Overview

    Your premier provider for brain and neurological cancers 

    VCU Massey Cancer Center is ready to help if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor. Massey offers the only board-certified neuro-oncologists in the Richmond area. Just 1 percent of neurologists in the country subspecialize in the treatment of neurological cancers, and Massey has two of these subspecialists, who collaborate with a team of other leading neurological, neurosurgical and cancer specialists.

    Massey features an award-winning medical team dedicated to caring for patients with benign and malignant primary brain and spinal cord tumors, cancer metastatic to the nervous system, neurological complications of cancer therapy and neurological paraneoplastic syndromes (remote autoimmune effects of cancer that are not directly caused by tumors and their metastases). We offer a level of cancer expertise and experience only found at the top 4 percent of cancer centers across the country recognized as a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center. Massey is the only center in the Richmond area, and one of only two in Virginia, designated by the NCI to lead and shape America’s cancer research efforts.

    Massey’s cancer care is provided through VCU Health at VCU Medical Center, which was recognized as the No. 1 hospital in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report (2012, 2013 and 2015). Massey partners with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU to provide top-quality pediatric cancer care.

    Hallmarks of Massey’s neuro-oncology program

    Choose VCU Massey Cancer Center for your cancer treatment because our care is:

    Cutting-edge
    Our doctors have unparalleled knowledge and experience in diagnosing and treating all types of brain and spinal cord tumors. As sub-specialists in neuro-oncology, they are specifically trained in and dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of neurological cancers.

    Comprehensive 
    Massey offers a full range of treatment options and scope of care, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment, recovery and long-term survivorship. We provide expert care for patients with benign and malignant primary brain and spinal cord tumors, cancer metastatic to the nervous system, neurological complications resulting from cancer treatment and paraneoplastic syndromes. Additionally, you have access to clinical trials testing new and promising treatments that are only available at National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers like Massey. We also offer comprehensive support services that range from helping minimize symptoms and side effects to helping evaluate and cope with the cognitive, emotional and psychological effects of cancer.

    Collaborative
    Cancer care generally requires multiple forms of therapy and various specialized doctors. At Massey, our specialists collaborate in interdisciplinary teams to coordinate all aspects and stages of patient care and conveniently provide that care in one location. Massey pioneered the multidisciplinary approach to cancer care in our region. This approach combines the expertise of many doctors and ensures that you will receive the ideal combination and sequence of treatment.

    Customized
    Recognizing that each patient is unique and each type of cancer is different, Massey provides treatment strategies and care plans tailored and individualized to you.

    Compassionate
    Through respectful, attentive and compassionate care, Massey’s cancer care team builds healing relationships with you that help reduce suffering and death from cancer.

    Care center locations

    Neuro-oncology Clinic:
    VCU Massey Cancer Center
    VCU Medical Center, North Hospital                        
    Dalton Oncology Clinic (Ground floor & Basement) & Radiation Oncology Clinic (Basement)
    1300 E. Marshall St.
    (Corner of Marshall Street & College Avenue)
    Richmond, VA 23298
    Phone: (804) 828-9992 Dalton Oncology
    Phone: (804) 828-7232 Radiation Oncology

    Neurosurgical Clinic:
    VCU Health
    VCU Medical Center, Ambulatory Care Center
    Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center, 6th floor
    417 N. 11th St.
    (Corner of 11th & Leigh Streets)
    Richmond, VA 23298
    Phone: (804) 828-9165

    Valet parking is available for your convenience at both North Hospital (complimentary for outpatient cancer visits) and Ambulatory Care Center ($5). Self-parking is available in the Patient and Visitor Parking Deck ($2) at 529 N. 12th St. (at the corner of 12th and Leigh Streets).

  • Treatment

    Advanced, comprehensive treatment options

    VCU Massey Cancer Center offers the most advanced methods of evaluating both benign and malignant brain and spinal cord tumors, including precision imaging techniques and needle biopsies. In addition to standard treatment options such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, you have access to state-of-the-art treatments such as image-guided radiosurgery at VCU Health’s Trilogy Image-Guided Treatment Center, microscopic surgery, ultrasonic and laser techniques, targeted therapies and immunotherapy. Additionally, you have the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials testing new and promising treatments that are only available at National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers like Massey.

    Additional advanced treatment options include:

    Clinical trials – Massey offers a wide range of clinical trials for both newly diagnosed and relapsed patients – some trials that are not found elsewhere. Our trials test new anti-cancer therapies and ways to minimize common cancer-related symptoms. These trials provide access to investigational agents and innovative new therapies that may help increase the chance for successful treatment. Learn more.

    NeuroBlate – NeuroBlate is an advanced medical procedure that utilizes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to place a small probe directly at the location of a tumor. A small laser inserted through the probe is then used to heat up and burn away live or dead tumor tissue. The environment on the opposite side of the tumor is cooled to prevent damage to healthy tissue. Learn more.

    Optune – Optune is intended as a treatment for adult patients (22 years of age or older) with histologically-confirmed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM.) Optune is a wearable and portable, FDA-approved device that has been shown in clinical trials to safely deliver continuous therapy to the area of the brain where the GBM tumor is located. The device delivers therapy via electric currents through four adhesive patches that are applied to the scalp and worn for at least 18 hours a day. Optune does not enter the bloodstream, and it has not been shown to affect cells in other parts of the body. For patients with newly diagnosed GBM, Optune is used together with the chemotherapy temozolomide (TMZ). For patients with recurrent GBM, Optune is used alone. Learn more.

    Stereotactic radiosurgery –Stereotactic radiosurgery uses numerous precisely focused radiation beams to deliver high doses of radiation to the tumor with minimal exposure to healthy surrounding tissue. Learn more.

    TrueBeam –The TrueBeam linear accelerator incorporates the latest image-guided radiation therapy technologies and higher dose rates to more accurately target tumors while sparing healthy tissue, reducing side effects and decreasing treatment times. With advanced imaging techniques, physicians can monitor and adapt to changes in a patient’s anatomy caused by the radiation therapy to personalize treatment plans based on each patient’s unique physiology. The optical camera system even allows physicians to see patient motion during treatments so they can monitor radiation delivery and adjust as needed. Learn more.

  • Specialists

    Leaders in neurological cancers

    Your medical team at VCU Massey Cancer Center has a depth and breadth of expertise and experience that is specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors. These specialists collaborate in a multidisciplinary team, which offers you the tremendous advantage of one-stop consultations and highly coordinated care. Many of our doctors are also researchers, continually investigating new and better treatment options and exploring ways to improve the patient care experience. And as Massey is part of a university medical center, our doctors are also professors, educating and training oncologists and other health care professionals. The constant treatment, study and teaching of brain cancers helps position our doctors as the leading experts in the field.

    Select from the list below to learn more about your care team and their education, training and specific areas of clinical expertise.

    Neuro-oncology

    Zhijian Chen, M.D., Ph.D. Mark Malkin, M.D., director

    Massey’s neuro-oncologists are faculty in the Division of Neuro-oncology within the Department of Neurology of the VCU School of Medicine at VCU Health.

    Neuropathology

    Hope Richard, M.D., Ph.D.

    Richard is on faculty in the Department of Pathology of the VCU School of Medicine at VCU Health.

    Neuropsychology

    Ashlee Loughan, Ph.D., M.Ed.

    Loughan is on faculty in the Division of Neuro-oncology within the Department of Neurology of the VCU School of Medicine at VCU Health.

    Neuroradiology

    Brian Suddarth, M.D.

    Suddarth is on faculty in the Department of Radiology of the VCU School of Medicine at VCU Health.

    Neurosurgery

    William Broaddus, M.D., Ph.D. R. Scott Graham, M.D. Kathryn Holloway, M.D. Bruce Mathern, M.D.

    Massey’s neurosurgeons are faculty in the Department of Neurosurgery of the VCU School of Medicine at VCU Health and the Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center.

    Pediatric neurosurgery

    John Collins, M.D.

    Collins is the chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

    Radiation oncology

    Timothy Harris, M.D., Ph.D. Todd Adams, M.D., Ph.D.

    Massey’s radiation oncologists are faculty in the Department of Radiation Oncology of the VCU School of Medicine at VCU Health.

    Additional medical team members

    • Dana Blake, N.P.
    • Alison Ryan, N.P.
    • Diane Holdford, R.N., B.S.N., C.C.R.C.
    • Chris Jekanowski, R.N.
    • Heidi Miller, R.N.
    • Kathryn Strickler, R.N.
    • Candise Powell, Neuro-oncology administrative assistant

    Others who may be part of your health care team include attending and resident physicians, fellows, palliative care specialists, rehabilitation specialists (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists), social workers, genetic counselors, psychologists, chaplains, dieticians, care partners, clerks and other specialists as needed.

  • Research

    Pioneering advancements

    At VCU Massey Cancer Center, you’ll have access to the most advanced therapies and the latest technologies. Some of these therapies were discovered and developed right here at Massey, where our doctors collaborate closely with our research scientists to bring new research breakthroughs to our patients in the form of clinical trials.

    Clinical trials are research studies that help discover new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure diseases. With one of the largest menus of cancer clinical trials in Virginia, we offer patients expanded treatment options and new hope every day.

    The following are the neuro-oncology clinical trials currently available at Massey:

    ACNS 0831– Phase 3 randomized trial, Maintenance Chemotherapy or Observation Following Induction Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients Ages 1 to 21 Years with Newly Diagnosed Ependymoma

    ACNS 1123 – Phase 2 trial, Chemotherapy Followed by Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients Ages 3 to 21 Years with Newly Diagnosed Localized Central Nervous System Germ Cell Tumors (CNS GCT)

    CALGB-51101 – Phase 2 randomized trial, Myeloablative Versus Non-myeloablative Consolidation Chemotherapy (Combination Chemotherapy With or Without Autologous Stem Cell Transplant) in Treating Patients with Newly Diagnosed Primary Central Nervous System B-Cell Lymphoma (CNS BCL)

    MCC-13-09950 – Phase 1 trial, Dimethyl Fumarate, Temozolomide and Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients with Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma Multiforme

    MCC-14816 – Phase 2 trial, Sorafenib, Valproic Acid and Sildenafil in Treating Patients with Recurrent High Grade Glioma

    N0577 – Phase 3 intergroup trial, Radiation Therapy with Concomitant and Adjuvant Temozolomide versus Radiation Therapy with Adjuvant PCV Chemotherapy in Treating Patients with 1p/19q Co-deleted Anaplastic Glioma or Low Grade Glioma

    RTOG-1119 – Phase 2 randomized trial, Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy with or without Lapatinib Ditosylate in Treating Patients with Brain Metastasis from HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

    Two of the trials, MCC-13-09950 and MCC-14816, were developed at Massey and are based on science conducted here by our researchers.

    Discuss with your doctor whether a clinical trial is right for you. For a full list of clinical research studies currently open at Massey, search our database of clinical trials.

  • Resources

    Support services

    At VCU Massey Cancer Center, we believe that treating the whole person, not just the disease, is the best way to care for patients and family members coping with cancer. We take a holistic approach to address not just your medical and physical needs, but also your psychological, emotional and social needs. We offer comprehensive cancer support services to care for you throughout your cancer journey that range from helping minimize symptoms and side effects to helping evaluate and cope with the emotional and psychological effects of cancer. These services include:

    Communication assistance

    Complementary therapies, including acupressure, art therapy, music therapy, pet therapy and tobacco cessation counseling. Complementary therapies are not substitutes for medical care but are used together with medical treatments to help patients alleviate stress and anxiety, reduce pain, manage symptoms and promote a feeling of well-being.

    Financial assistance for qualifying patients in need

    • Genetic counseling by board-certified genetic counselors in Richmond’s only Familial Cancer Clinic

    Healing garden

    Legal assistance for qualifying patients in need

    Lodging for qualifying patients in need

    Nutritionists

    Palliative care by an international award-winning team for the management of pain and symptoms, including an outpatient Supportive Care Clinic

    • Patient education, including libraries and health programming geared to cancer patients and their caregivers

    Pharmacy services, including in-hospital oncology pharmacies

    • Psychological counseling

    Rehabilitation by one of the nation’s longest-running cancer rehabilitation programs with physical, occupational and speech therapy especially geared for cancer patients

    Spiritual counseling

    Social work for patients in need

    Support groups
         •Another, external resource: Cullather Brain Tumor Quality Life Center

    • Transportation assistance for qualifying patients in need – ask your social worker for more information

    Wig salons that provide free hats, scarves and wigs as well as private head-wear consultation services

    Learn more about our patient resources and integrative medicine

Make an appointment online

or call: 877-4MASSEY
(877-462-7739)

Patient Stories

Mackenzie Levi was only 20 months old when the team at VCU Massey Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU removed a peach-sized, cancerous tumor from her brain. Today, she’s 11 years old, happy, healthy and cancer-free. “You’re saving people; you’re saving kids. You gave my child her life back. Keep working. Save the next one,” said Mackenzie’s dad, Jon Levi, about Massey.

Clinical trials

Find a clinical trial for brain and neurological cancer.

Learn more:

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