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The Mass General Neurosurgery Mission

In This Video

  • Clinicians from the Department of Neurosurgery discuss the clinical and translational research they conduct at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Teams of surgeons are working collaboratively across specialties to improve our ability to evaluate and surgical repair severe neurological injuries and disorders

Clinicians from the Department of Neurosurgery discuss the clinical and translational research they conduct at Massachusetts General Hospital. The departmental mission stresses the importance of interdisciplinary work, collaboration and translation from the lab and the clinic to improve patient care. Innovative neurosurgical teams and researchers are working collaboratively across specialties to improve the ability to evaluate and surgically repair severe neurological injuries and diseases.


Bob Carter, MD, PhD, chief of Department of Neurosurgery: Our vision of neurosurgery at the Mass General is to allow each patient to receive the best care from the right specialist, who is specifically focused on the disease that that patient has.

Jeffrey S. Schweitzer, MD, PhD, neurosurgeon: There's a sense of mission here, of the importance of interdisciplinary work, of the importance of collaboration and translation between the lab and the clinic that I've just not found anywhere else.

William T. Curry, MD, co-director of Mass General Neuroscience: Mass General Neurosurgery has created an environment of creativity, of innovation.

Bob Carter, MD, PhD: So we have the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. Last year we gathered almost $900 million in outside funding for research.

William T. Curry, MD: You know, what we're striving for in neuro-oncology, for brain tumor patients, for cancer patients, generally speaking, is really a cure. We're ambitious about it. We want to cure these patients of their brain tumors. But we want to at least turn these into non-fatal diseases that can be managed.

Brian Nahed, MD, MSc, associate director of the Department of Neurosurgery: Several years ago, we were the first to identify circulating tumor cells in the blood of patients with brain tumors. This exciting and groundbreaking discovery allowed us to, for the first time, look in blood and be able to pull out cancer cells which were very similar to what I would do in the operating room.

Shannon Stott, PhD, assistant in Genetics: We're hoping that by our less invasive liquid biopsy assay, that we're able to get more information about those patients' tumors so that we can understand who's responding versus not responding, but also hopefully identify better and more effective treatments for them.

Bob Carter, MD, PhD: CAR-T therapy is an active therapy under design, whereby we take a patient's own T-cells and re-engineer them with a new specificity towards a specific tumor antigen.

Justin Brown, MD, director of the Paralysis Center: We are just delving into the different sorts of opportunities with combining the traditional tendon transfers for spinal cord injury with now the newer nerve transfers. And our group probably has the greatest experience in the world with these types of injuries, with these interventions.

Thabele Leslie-Mazwi, MD, specialist in Neuroendovascular and Neurocritical Care: There's a very team-centered approach to all the problems that we deal with. You see that in the collaborations we have on the research front. But I think most importantly, you see that in patient care.

John H. Shin, MD, director of Metastatic Spine Oncology and Spinal Deformity Surgery: We're able to do these types of operations and offer these services to patients only because we have the best of nursing and also medical care here at Mass General. These operations are very resource intensive. They take a lot of effort. And patients often require skilled nursing, intensive care, as well as skilled anesthesia.

Thabele Leslie-Mazwi, MD: I can speak out of experience. My entire family are Mass General patients. There's such a symbiosis of thinking and focus on the patient's problems here. I've never seen that anywhere else. It's a real pleasure to work in such an environment.

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