Career Overview

Brain Tumor Diagnosis and Therapy

I am a Neurologist/Neuro-Oncologist with a major focus on the translation of laboratory findings into therapies for patients with brain tumors. My research demonstrated that methotrexate therapy increased the survival of brain lymphoma patients from 11 months to multiple years. This treatment is now the gold standard upon which single or multi-drug therapies are based. I have had over two decades of NIH support for my translational activities this and serve on NCI and other national brain tumor committees. I teach and consult locally, nationally and internationally in my field.

My clinical research has had four major components. (1) I demonstrated that glioblastoma was a disease with local patterns of recurrence. This observation set the international stage for localized radiation and chemotherapy. (2) My work was the first demonstration of EB viral genome in brain lymphoma. (3) My clinical care and publications have emphasized the patterns of this lymphoma as it appears in the eye, nerve, brain and vessels of the nervous system. I have explored novel molecular techniques for the diagnosis of these diseases. By providing systemic methotrexate, I have produced complete remissions in over half of patients with these lymphomas. This work has set the stage for all trials of combination therapy of this disease. (4) The Gene Therapy of Brain Tumors Program Project, which I have led for 17 years has performed early studies of gene therapy of glioblastoma using retroviral, adenoviral and herpes viral constructs. This project is now one of the major areas of research to bring Exosome studies to the care of patients.

My national roles for the last twenty years have included the phase 1 and 2 chemotherapy of glial tumors of the nervous system. I have been for 15 years the Massachusetts General Hospital principal investigator of the NCI Consortia, Brain Tumor Collaborative Group and then a founding member of the New Approaches in Brain Tumor Therapy through which many of these agents are provided. My collaborators have included international neuro-oncologists and colleagues including Drs. Chiocca (Harvard), Harsh (Stanford), Chabner (Harvard). In addition these have included Boston scientists  (Drs. Breakefield, Louis, Weissleder, Chiocca), and those in California (Harsh), Pennsylvania (Glorioso), North Carolina (Colvin), and Alabama (Nabors). An extended group of Exosome workers (ISEV) include those in Germany, Australia, Sweden and Holland. In addition, I have served on the Boards of Advocacy groups including the American Brain Tumor Association and the Central Brian Tumor Registry of the United States and the Glioma Outcomes Project.

My teaching activities have included training over 15 Fellows in academic Neuro-Oncology as well as over 15 students from the German Neuroscience program. These individuals are now leaders in their fields in Germany, and the United States. I have lectured and held visiting professorships throughout the United States and Europe including extended positions in Lausanne Switzerland. My Fellows and students have worked with me to create peer-reviewed published studies emphasizing Primary Brain Lymphoma — its natural history, chemotherapy and relationship to EB viral infection, studies of the variants of this tumor and its effective therapy with high dose chemotherapy. In addition we have published extensively (in the last five years) on Biomarkers for Liquid Biopsy of Brain Tumors.