Brain and pituitary tumor patients will soon have access to a state-of-the-art facility at The Methodist Hospital, a result of a $10 million dollar commitment from a Houston oil executive.
The Kenneth R. Peak Brain & Pituitary Tumor Treatment Center will offer personalized neurosurgical and cancer treatment options, and give patients access to novel research studies not available elsewhere. Investigational therapies will include immunotherapy; nanosyringes for drug delivery; mitochondrial "smart bombs" (selective mitochondrial chemotherapy); stem cells; gene therapy; genomic, proteonomic and DNA profiling, and high throughput screening of each person's tumor to every known drug available for treatment. For example, the nanosyringe program will utilize technology that injects chemotherapy selectively into each tumor cell, sparing normal cells. Researchers believe this technique will limit toxicity and increase effectiveness.
"Brain and pituitary tumors are a devastating set of diseases. We are bringing together specialists from all over the world and designing novel treatment options available to each patient, so we can make this journey as smooth as possible, and when possible, eradicate tumors and cancer," said David S. Baskin, M.D., director of the Peak Center, vice chairman of the department of neurosurgery, and a renowned neurosurgeon at The Methodist Hospital.
The center will be housed in Methodist's outpatient facility and will be integrated with the Methodist Cancer Center. It will focus on four areas aimed at providing tumor-specific clinical care and research while fostering interdisciplinary collaboration. These areas include:
•Brain metastases (Most of these cases involve cancers that have metastasized from the breast or lung);
•Pituitary disorders (While most of the 8,000 pituitary tumor cases diagnosed each year are noncancerous, these tumors can cause vision loss or several life threatening disorders due to increase or decrease in production of certain hormones. They can be cured or controlled in over 90 percent of cases);
•Glial tumors (primary tumors of the central nervous system); and
•Meningiomas and skull base tumors.
Peak founded Contango Oil & Gas Company and was its Chairman and CEO until he stepped down in 2012.
Baskin said the Center will provide patients immediate access on a 24/7 basis to senior level physicians, utilize novel technologies and treatments not available elsewhere, provide a compassionate and user friendly environment for patients and families, and provide the best in personalized medical care on a gene/DNA/molecular level. The center will characterize each tumor in ways not being done anywhere else on a routine basis, he said
"We consider each patient to be unique, and know that each tumor has different genetic information and biological behaviors. The Peak center will capitalize on these differences, starting with an initial $4 million commitment to research which we hope will further our goal to provide personalized treatment using new technologies to achieve cure rates never thought to be possible," said Baskin.
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, for every 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 221 are living with the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Approximately 10,000 people are diagnosed with a glioma in the United States each year. Treatment usually involves surgery and chemotherapy but the survival rate is poor, with only one patient in five surviving two years.