Nader Sanai, MD, Director

Dr. Sanai is an internationally-recognized neurosurgical oncologist with clinical and research expertise in the treatment of all brain tumors. As a practicing neurosurgeon, his specialty clinical practice is devoted entirely to patients with tumors of the brain and spine, including those in high-risk areas. He also has extensive experience using intraoperative mapping techniques to maximize tumor removal while preserving crucial structures controlling motor and language function. Gliomas, meningiomas, metastatic tumors, and complex tumors of the skull base are just some of the tumor types he routinely treats using both operative and radiosurgery techniques.  As the Southwest’s most active dedicated neurosurgical oncologist, with over 2500 brain tumor surgeries performed since 2010, Dr. Sanai has one of the largest experiences in the world.  For this reason and others, Dr. Sanai was recently elected to the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons, the most respected academic organization in neurosurgery.

To date, Dr. Sanai has published over 150 peer-reviewed research manuscripts and delivered over 150 national and international lectures on brain tumor research.  Collectively, Dr. Sanai’s published research has led to over 11,000 total citations and an H-index of 41 – one of the highest for an academic neurosurgeon in the United States, where the median for a Department Chair is 22.  As the Director of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center, Dr. Sanai oversees all translational brain tumor research at the Barrow Neurological Institute, located within the Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.   At the Ivy Center, Dr. Sanai serves as the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Stem Cell Neuro-Oncology, which is funded by over a dozen external granting agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Sanai is one of only a handful of neurosurgeons in the United States serving as the principal investigator of multiple NIH R01 grants. 

Dr. Sanai is the principal architect of the Ivy Center’s highly-innovative and world-renown Phase 0 clinical trials program.  Together with a multidisciplinary team of scientists, clinicians, and nurses, Dr. Sanai specializes in identifying new, first-in-class therapeutic agents that match the individual biologies of brain tumor patients.  The Ivy Center’s precision medicine program is the first of its kind in neuro-oncology and reflects Dr. Sanai’s commitment to pushing the envelope for brain tumor patients around the world. 

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