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Ivy Blog

Brain Tumor Talk Ep. 1: Brain Tumor Basics with Guest Dr. Nader Sanai

When cells in the brain become abnormal and begin to grow, a tumor develops. No two brain tumors are alike. Each brain tumor is incredibly complex, with unique characteristics and challenges. 

For the inaugural episode of Brain Tumor Talk, Dr. Nader Sanai, director of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center and chief of neurosurgical oncology at Barrow Neurological Institute, joined the podcast to explain the basic information about brain tumors. 

He describes the different types of brain tumors and the symptoms they present. The Ivy Center at Barrow Neurological Institute performs more than 1,300 brain tumor surgeries every year, making it the highest-volume operative brain tumor center in the United States. 

Dr. Sanai also discusses treatment options and why a cure hasn’t been discovered. Brain cancer is arguably the most complex and treatment-resistant cancer. Brain tumors are formidable foes, posing significant treatment barriers and making the discovery of individualized, effective therapies a challenge. 

“Cancer care has changed over the last few decades for everyone except brain tumor patients,” he says. 

The Ivy Center is focused on changing that. Drug development is the key to finding a cure, Dr. Sanai says. His goal at the Ivy Center is to identify new, more effective and less toxic drugs for brain tumor patients. 

This lack of progress can be discouraging, but endurance, Dr. Sanai says, comes from seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. 

“At the Ivy Center, we’re in uncharted territory, that’s where we live,” he says.

Dr. Sanai also shares what inspired him to get into the neurosurgical field.

In this Brain Tumor Basics episode, you’ll learn:

  • Therapy options for brain tumors
  • The importance of clinical trials
  • What’s new in brain tumor treatment

What to listen for: 

1:44: What are brain tumors?
4:55: Operating on the inoperable
8:07: Advice after a diagnosis
10:55: Being optimistic and realistic
14:44: The challenges of treating brain tumors
17:46: An Ivy Center solution
19:54: Phase 0 clinical trials
23:22: Standard of care vs clinical trials
24:49: New, promising therapies
28:12: What inspired Dr. Sanai to become a neurosurgeon?
32:43: Rapid fire questions with Dr. Sanai

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Ivy Center