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Research Finds Tetanus Shot Improves Patient Survival
According to a recent study published in the journal Nature, researchers from Duke Cancer Institute used a tetanus booster to prime the immune system in order to enhance the effects of vaccine therapy for lethal brain tumors, dramatically improving patient survival. The researchers built the study on earlier findings that glioblastoma tumors harbor a strain of cytomegalovirus (CMV) that is not present in the surrounding brain tissue, creating a natural target for an immune therapy. To read more about this study, click here.

Raman Technique Helps Surgeons Excise Brain Cancer
A research team led by engineer Frédéric Leblond of Montreal Polytechnique and neurosurgeon Kevin Petrecca, MD, PhD, of McGill University, also in Montreal, developed a Raman probe that can distinguish between normal cells and cancer cells. Its method, published in a recent issue of Science Translational Medicine, showed it could find previously undetectable cancer cells in the brains of glioma patients. Unlike other medical imaging techniques, Raman provides information on molecules, which could allow for faster characterization of tissue types. To read more about this technique, click here.

New Tumor-targeting Agent Treats Variety of Cancers
A recent study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine found a new class of tumor-targeting agents that can seek out and find dozens of solid tumors, even illuminating brain cancer stem cells that resist current treatments. Years of animal studies and early human clinical trials show that this tumor-targeting alkylphosphocholine (APC) molecule can deliver two types of "payloads" directly to cancer cells; a radioactive or fluorescent imaging label, or a radioactive medicine that binds and kills cancer cells. One of the study’s lead co-authors, John S. Kuo, MD, PhD, FAANS, who was initially skeptical, says "It is a very broad cancer-targeting agent — both because of the many cancers that test positive, and its ability to detect cancer throughout the body. The APC analogs revealed clusters of cancer in patients that were small, asymptomatic and previously undetected by physicians." To read more about this study, click here.

Thank You for Attending the 83rd AANS Annual Scientific Meeting
With the theme Neurosurgery’s Founding Principles, the 83rd American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting welcomed more than 3,000 medical attendees to Washington, D.C., to celebrate and reflect on both the history and future of neurosurgery. For additional post-meeting information and resources, including online recordings, official photography from the sessions and the presidential address of 2014-2015 AANS President Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS, click here.

Introducing 2015-2016 AANS President, H. Hunt Batjer, MD, FAANS
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) has named Texas-based neurosurgeon H. Hunt Batjer, MD, FAANS, as its 2015-2016 president. His appointment was announced during the 83rd Annual Scientific Meeting, held in Washington D.C. May 2-6, 2015. “As president of the AANS, I serve both the specialty and public interest. Neurosurgery cannot be performed by other health-care providers; by guiding health policy concerning the need for the highest-quality neurosurgical care and by ensuring continued patient access to neurosurgeons, neurosurgery will maintain its essential position in our evolving health-care system. The AANS leadership and staff will ensure that our members receive the highest quality continuing education, keeping members on pace with the dramatic technological advances that will allow us to treat currently non-curable disease,” stated Batjer. To read more, click here.

Missed the Historical Vignettes Presented in Washington, D.C.?
What can be learned from the founders of the United States of America and from those who shaped the specialty of neurosurgery? Written, recorded and edited by fellow neurosurgeons, these short films, presented before each Plenary Session during the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C., explore the lives and accomplishments of the neurosurgical founding fathers and their guiding principles. View the historical vignettes here.

Using the Polio Virus to Kill Cancer
For the past year, producers from CBS’ 60 Minutes program have been following glioblastoma patients and reporting on their participation in a new clinical Phase I trial from Duke University, which uses the polio virus to help kill glioblastoma tumors. The trial is the result of more than 25 years of research by Dr. Matthias Gromeier, a molecular biologist. Although it’s still in a phase I stage of the study, using the virus is a promising new approach in the expanding field of cancer immunotherapy. To watch the two-part 60 Minutes segment, click here.

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
Teens cannot control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why? Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. The author of The Teenage Brain, a neuroscientist and mother of two boys who are now in their 20s, wrote the book to explore the science of how the brain grows — and why teenagers can be especially impulsive, moody and not very good at responsible decision-making. To read more about this book, click here.

AANS and CNS Identify Five Unnecessary Neurosurgery Tests, Procedures
As part of an initiative to encourage physician and patient conversations related to their treatment options, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) released a list of specific neurosurgical tests or procedures that are commonly ordered, but not always necessary. As part of Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, the list identifies five targeted, evidence-based recommendations that can support physicians by working with their patients to make wise choices about their care. To read the recommendations, click here.

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