What's Happening...

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.

Anthony L. Asher, MD, FAANS, Discusses Study of the National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database
Anthony L. Asher, MD, FAANS, director of the National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database (N²QOD), addressed attendees at the 2014 American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting regarding the study of patient outcomes and responses to therapy following surgery for lumbar and spine disorders. The N²QOD registry provided the data for the study, which reported disability scores 12 months after surgery for lumbar disc herniation and spondylolisthesis. To view Dr. Asher’s video synopsis of this study, click here.

AANS, NREF Partner with Brainlab on Implementing a Radiosurgery Patient Registry
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) have announced a collaborative effort with Brainlab, Inc., to develop a groundbreaking patient registry for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) treatments. Data from 30 diverse, high-volume sites will produce information from thousands of patients with brain metastases, benign brain tumors and arteriovenous malformations. The registry is aimed at establishing national benchmarks for SRS treatments in order to provide clinicians and patients the data they need to make informed treatment decisions. To read more, click here.

Discover the 2014 Annual Report — Expanding Neurosurgery
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is proud to present the 2014 Annual Report. The theme of this year's report, Expanding Neurosurgery, speaks to the continuing efforts of the AANS and its affiliated organizations to advance the specialty of neurological surgery through knowledge, growth and advocacy. To view the 2014 Annual Report, click here.

Do You Know the Number One Healthcare Data Breach?
Watch this short video provided by The Doctors Company and learn how you may be at risk.

AANS Names Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS, President for 2014-2015
The AANS named Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS, as its 2014-2015 president during the AANS 82nd Annual Scientific Meeting. Dr. Harbaugh says his goal for the AANS is to make it an indispensable organization for the members, also stating, "As the spokes-organization for neurosurgery it is the responsibility of the AANS to lead a campaign demonstrating the value of neurosurgical specialists in today’s health-care reform environment." To read more about Dr. Harbaugh, or learn more about the other members of the 2014-2015 Executive Committee, 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.

AANS Vice President Discusses Work, Life Balance
"It’s high-tech and high-touch," is how the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) vice president Gail L. Rosseau, MD, FAANS, describes her treatment philosophy in a recent Chicago Sun Times article; in which she shares her thoughts on physician-patient relationships, her role as one of fewer than 400 female neurosurgeons in the U.S., and achieving a work-life balance. "We’re operating on patients’ brain and spines…you have to have a fairly advanced way of being able to engage people to have them trust you," Dr. Rosseau says of her approach to patient care. Dr. Rosseau says that she remains passionate about her field and about having the opportunity to work some of the latest innovations to help patients. To read more about this story, click here

Eight-year Old Girl Considered First in World to Beat Brain Cancer Passes Away
Eight-year old Claudia Burkill, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in June of 2011, became the first person in the world to beat the illness after doctors declared her cancer free in early June 2014. Claudia was diagnosed with metastatic pineoblastoma when she was five-years old. Pineoblastomas account for less than .1 percent of all brain tumors. Shortly after she was diagnosed, Claudia began undergoing experimental treatment consisting of 44 grueling sessions of radiotherapy, a treatment in involving high-energy radiation beams that are focused onto the affected area. Unfortunately, toward the end of October 2014, four months after being declared cancer free, Claudia passed away. “Despite her long illness, ultimately, her death is an incredibly shock to all that know and love her,” her mother stated. Claudia had been suffering from lung issues since June, including pneumonia, which played a role in causing her death. To read more about this story, click here.

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