Neurosurgery News

Inaugural Winter Neurosurgical Forum 
January 30-February 3, 2017
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Brittany Laschober 

The Herald-News, September 5, 2013

Lockport woman, brain aneurysm survivor, pays it forward
Read full story

CAVE2, Visualizing in 3D
Each year, when the National Science Foundation (NSF) sends its budget request to Congress, it includes about a dozen research "nuggets:" short descriptions of the very best NSF-funded research results across all the areas of science and engineering. This year CAVE2, a highly novel large-scale virtual environment developed by the UIC Computer Science Department's Electronic Visualization Laboratory, was one of those nuggets. In particular, the report highlights CAVE2's use by a team of UIC CoM neurosurgeons for 3-D brain modeling.
NSF nugget/budget sent to the Congress (pdf)
Associated Press Release
WTTW Chicago Tonight (April 23, 2013)

Dr. K. Slavin is One of the First in the Country to Implant the New RestoreSensor Neurostimlular for Pain Control
This revolutionary device is the first stimulator to automatically adapt to a patient's posture to deliver consistent stimulation therapy.
(Medtronic's News Release for AdaptivestimTM with RestoresensorTM - pdf)

MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2012
Novocure(TM) Certifies Eight Additional Clinical Centers of Excellence to Treat Most Common Brain Tumor with Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) Therapy
(link to online article)

ALLVOICES, Local to Global News, January 20, 2012
Brain Aneurysm Awareness has gained momentum in Illinois
(link to online article)

WGNTV, Medical Watch, January 4, 2012
Novocure Treatment for Glioblastoma
(link to video)

UIC News Release, December 2, 2011
Patient Receives First Prescription for FDA-Approved Brain Tumor Treatment
(download article pdf)

The Herald-News, September 13, 2011
"Brain aneurysm survivor knows support aids recovery "(link to the article)

FDA approves first-in-class treatment for brain cancer –UIMC first to provide treatment in US

UIMC is a leader in the field of brain tumor research and is committed to providing our patients access to the most innovative treatments and clinical trials.  Over four years ago, UIMC became the first hospital in the United States to treat a patient using the NovoTTF device, an entirely new cancer treatment approach. Daniel Torres, a UIMC patient, was able to enroll in a clinical trial to study the device against glioblastoma (GBM) tumors, the most aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer. Mr. Torres testified before the FDA panel to support approval of the device.  He talked about his long term survival and his remarkable quality of life on the device.

The FDA has now approved the device for adult patients with glioblastoma brain tumors that have returned after treatment with chemotherapy and other interventions. The FDA approved the device after reviewing results from a recently completed randomized pivotal trial.  Patients were treated either with the NovoTTF device (alone) or an effective chemotherapy selected by the physician. 

For decades, doctors have treated cancer with three methods: drugs, radiation, or surgery. Novocure's NovoTTF device represents a fourth approach.  "The reason why this is so exciting is that we now have FDA approval of a totally new type of treatment for cancer," said Dr. Herb Engelhard, an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Engelhard helped conduct the study of NovoTTF but received no compensation from the company. Dr. Engelhard is one of four US doctors (and one of only six worldwide) overseeing the ongoing clinical studies of this product.

NovoTTF patients had comparable overall survival times to chemotherapy patients in the pivotal trial.  Notably, the NovoTTF treated group had three complete tumor responses versus zero in the chemotherapy group.  Patients treated with the device experienced fewer side effects and avoided the side effects common to chemotherapy, such as fatigue, infections, and GI disorders.  The only treatment related side effect of the NovoTTF device was a mild to moderate rash beneath the electrode that was easily treatable with topical creams.  NovoTTF patients also reported better quality of life scores compared to chemotherapy patients.  "All of us as investigators were skeptical at first, but I have seen the scans and I believe this is killing cancer cells in patients," Dr. Engelhard said. The research manager in the Department of neurosurgery Karriem Watson, MD, MPH  stated that “it is very exciting to be able to offer patients ground breaking advances due to clinical trials and it is even more exciting to see clinical research trials evolve into FDA approved treatment options”.

The NovoTTF is a six-pound device that patients carry with them in a small bag. The device creates a low-intensity, alternating electric field within the tumor that exerts physical forces on electrically charged cellular components, preventing the normal cell division process and causing cell death prior to division.  The device creates the field by means of four electrodes which are attached to the patient's shaved head.  The electric fields have little effect on healthy cells because healthy cells in the brain divide at a much slower rate, if at all, compared with cancer cells.

The FDA approved the device specifically for a tumor type known as glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Five-year survival for the disease is just two percent for patients over 45 years old, according to American Cancer Society. About nineteen thousand people in the U.S. are diagnosed with brain cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.  Standard treatment is surgery followed by six weeks of high-dose radiation along with a chemotherapy pill and then additional chemotherapy for at least six months or until the tumor stops responding.

To learn more about additional clinical trials in the Department of Neurosurgery at UIC please contact Karriem Watson, MD, MPH at 312-355-0334 or via email at kswatson@uic.ed


Groundbreaking Research Offers Hope for Glioblastoma Patients
UIMC is a leader in the field of brain tumor research and is committed to providing our patients access to the most innovative treatments and clinical trials. Four years ago, UIMC became the first hospital in the United States to treat a patient using the NovoTTF device, an entirely new cancer treatment approach. Daniel Torres, a UIMC patient, was able to enroll in a clinical trial to study the device against glioblastoma (GBM) tumors, the most aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer.

UIMC is now participating in a phase III clinical study of the NovoTTF device for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma tumors. This clinical study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the device when used in combination with temozolomide, an oral chemotherapy agent. The NovoTTF is a non-invasive device that creates an alternating electric field within the tumor that has the potential to inhibit cell division and slow or reverse tumor growth. The device is intended for continuous home use and is compatible with a patient’s daily activities.

Torres continues to receive his NovoTTF treatment more than four years later.

To enroll in this trial or to find out about other innovative research in the Department of Neurosurgery, contact Research Manager Karriem Watson at 312-355-0334 or email at For more information on the NovoTTF device, please visit


UIC Department of Neurosurgery recognized by the Cook County Board, September 29, 2010
In recognition of September as “Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month” in Illinois and in conjunction with the “Survivor in the City” benefit, the staff of UIMC and Department of Neurosurgery was presented a proclamation by Cook County Officials September 29, 2010 recognizing the Department’s commitment to brain aneurysm patients and their families.

UIMC News, September 2010
"UIMC Supports Brain Aneurysm Foundation"
(link to article)

"Mix Matters" Radio Show 101.9 FM The Mix and 100.3 FM WILV,  September 12, 2010
Susan Wiencek interviews Dr. Charbel and Janet Sutherland about Brain Aneurysms
(link to sound clip)

UIC News, July 14, 2010
"International Study Tests New Treatment for Brain Tumors",  featuring Dr. H. Engelhard
(link to article)

The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2010
"A New Way to Treat Brain Cancer?",  featuring Dr. H. Engelhard
(link to article)

UIC News Bureau, June 3, 2010
UIC in Clinical Trial to Treat Brain Tumors with Electric Fields
(link to article)  (download pdf file)

Public Service Announcement for the Brain Aneurysm Support Group
This announcement, aired across Chicago, features WBBM News anchor/reporter Jan Coleman  (sound clip)

WGN Medical Watch, April 21, 2010
Aneursyms: What you should know  (video)

Queen Square Neurosurgery, Winter 2010.
The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, UK

Interview with Dr. F. Charbel (download pdf file)

Chicago Tribune, Media Planet, March 2010
Living with An Aneurysm (download pdf file)

UIC News, December 3, 2008
Fighting back - Two years after undergoing new therapy for cancer, he's still there for his family

Chicago Tribune, June 23, 2008
Computer science used to measure blood flow Firm melds medicine and fluid dynamics to assess blood flow

ABC Seven Chicago, March 7, 2008
Wisc. woman thankful for rare, life-saving surgery

WBBM NewsRadios780, February 28, 2008
Surgeon Uses Laser For Rare Bypass Operation

CBS2 Chicago, November 9, 2007
Brain Cancer Patient Benefits From New Treatment
Highly Experimental Device Has Made Daniel Torres One Of The Longest-Living People With This Form Of Cancer

Chicago Sun-Times, November 6, 2007
Acts of Kindness: Procedure could be a lifesaver
Dr. Slavin consults a patient with an AVM

Today's Chicago Woman Magazine, November, 2007
Dr. Hanjani discusses brain aneurysms in the Q&A section

Daily Herald, September 27, 2007
Hospital Helps Co-worker's Relative with Brain Surgery

New Procedure offered for Mild/Moderate Lumbar Spine Stenosis:
New minimally invasive procedure now being performed at ABMC & UIC Medical Center for the treatment of mild/moderate lumbar spinal stenosis.

Technology Review, Published by MIT, August 8, 2007
Dr. Engelhard is quoted in Techology Review, a high profile MIT publication.

Chicago Sun-Times, August 5, 2007
"Can bypass brain surgery reduce risk of strokes? Study checking benefits of new imaging tools"
featuring Dr. Charbel

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