From the Directors
Henry Brem, M.D.
Justin C. McArthur, M.B.B.S., M.P.H.
Date: November 1, 2011
Faced as we in neurology and neurosurgery are with the daunting complexity of the nervous system and its often-devastating disorders, it’s all the more thrilling to be able to report significant advances in patient care and translational research. Here at Johns Hopkins, the progress has been happening on numerous fronts, and we wanted to share some of the promising innovations that we think could significantly improve patient outcomes and that in some cases are doing so today.
In enlisting implanted electrodes to determine optimal tissue-removal sites for relieving severe seizures, for example, Nathan Crone has been combining the data from many patients to build a general map of brain function that could prove invaluable to treating not only epilepsy but other disorders. John Laterra has been developing a monoclonal antibody for a brain-cell growth-factor receptor believed to promote glioblastomas, discovering more recently that the antibody might also help cut the tumors off from stem cells that lead to drug resistance.
Rafael Tamargo is saving patients with giant aneurysms by surgically rerouting blood flow around them via transplanted blood vessels, and he’s also investigating drugs that can counter post-brain-bleeding inflammation that sometimes leads to strokes. And Alex Coon is working with newly FDA-approved stents that are treating some of the largest aneurysms.
The challenges that yet remain are considerable. But the breadth and depth of the progress we’re seeing provide good reason to believe that disorders which not long ago seemed intractable may well be tamed within a generation. We hope you’ll share our excitement at the pushing forward of the boundaries of what we can do for patients.