Neuro-oncology

Our neuro-oncology service specialises in treating cancer of the brain and spine.

Brain and spinal tumours describe a growth of abnormal cells in the brain or on the spinal cord. These can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), but treatment is available for both.

You may be referred from your GP because you had a severe symptom, such as confusion, memory problems, or persistent headaches. Sometimes tumours can be detected incidentally when other tests are being done, such as a CT scan or an MRI scan for another reason.

Your investigations

Modern techniques

We use a mix of ground-breaking molecular pathology (a form of laboratory testing) to identify specific types of tumours and neuroradiology such as computer tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose brain and spinal tumours.

Innovative treatments

We provide the latest treatment options for brain and spinal cord tumours, both for planned and emergency cases. Our highly-skilled team perform advanced surgical procedures, including minimally invasive surgeries, to enhance patient safety and promote recovery after surgery.

All neurosurgery is done at The Royal London Hospital while radiotherapy and radiosurgery is done at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

  • Brain biopsy – We obtain a sample of your brain tumour and send it for analysis so that we can diagnose and treat it
  • Tumour resection/debulking – We remove all or part of your tumour as treatment, to slow its growth, or help to give other treatments
  • Accurate histological diagnosis – We do extensive  lab testing to accurately diagnose specific types of tumours
  • Complex skull base surgery – We perform highly specialised surgery on the base of the skull which contain important nerves and blood vessels that support sight, smelling, and hearing
  • Craniotomy – An opening is made by the neurosurgeon.. This operation can be done while you’re awake (awake craniotomy). Throughout the procedure, you will be closely monitored by a team of highly-specialised clinicians.
  • Neuro-monitoring – We use a combination of advanced technologies to monitor your brain functions throughout your surgery. This is to keeo you safe and shorten your stay in the hospital
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) – We offer radiosurgery with Cyber Knife, a non-invasive radiosurgery with pinpoint accuracy that uses x-ray on the tumour
  • Chemotherapy – We dispense and give chemotherapy treatment in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital both for outpatient and inpatient basis.
  • Rehabilitation – An expert team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and neuro-psychologist will work with you during your rehabilitation
  • Neuro-oncology clinic – Held every Friday at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Your doctor may talk to you about the following:
    • Your diagnosis
    • Your treatment options
    • How the treatment might affect you
    • Any questions or concerns you may have

If you need hospital transport, this can be arranged by speaking to a staff in clinic or by calling 020 7767 3344. You can request transport up to 30 days and no later than 72 hours in advance of your appointment date. Please note that an assessment will be done over the phone to see if you are eligible and your specific transport needs.

Your care team

The neuro-oncology service at Barts Health is a dynamic and highly-specialised team which includes the following staff:

  • Neurosurgeon – A doctor who specialises in the surgery of the brain and spinal cord
    • Mr Dimitrios Paraskevopoulos
    • Mr Edward McKintosh
    • Mr Grainne McKenna
  • Neuro-oncologist – A doctor who specialises in treating cancer in the brain and spinal cord
    • Ms Rachel Lewis
    • Mr Nick Plowman
  • Neuro-pathologist – A doctor who specialises in examining tissue samples taken during an operation from the brain or spine in the labatory to diagnose cancer
    • Prof. Silvia Marino (Barts Health lead)
  • Neuro-radiologist – A doctor who specialises in interpreting x-rays and scans to aid in diagnosing cancer in the brain or spinal cord
    • Mr Anant Krishnan
    • Mr Tom Campion
    • Ms Sabena Fareedi
    • Mr Alexandros Chatzistefanou
  • Neurologist – A doctor who specialises in treating diseases of the brain and spinal cord, including management of epilepsy
    • Ms Britta Wandschneider
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS) – An experienced cancer nurse who will give advice and support you as you go through investigations and treatments throughout your care pathway
    • Ms Hannah Lowe
    • Ms Jeyamalaruba Megarajan
  • Research nurse – A nurse who will support you if you participate in a clinical trial and who will also be your primary contact to answer questions and give advice
    • Mr Paolo Jose De Luna
  • Physiotherapist – A health practitioner who specialises in restoring movement and function throughout your care pathway
  • Occupational therapist – A health practitioner who specialises in improving your ability to do everyday tasks if you’re having difficulties
  • Speech and language therapist – A health practitioner who specialises in helping patients with speech and language difficulties and swallowing and communication problems.
    • Therapists team: Ms Libby Hough, Ms Anna Forde and Ms Fiona Kelly

Resources

The Brain Tumour Charity

The Brain Tumour Charity offers a wide range of inclusive and accessible services for everyone affected by a brain tumour. You can access the Support and Information Line by calling 0808 800 0004 or by email.

If you want an informative and comprehensive guide on your brain tumour care pathway, you can also check out the step-by-step interactive guide.

The BRIAN App

BRIAN (the Brian tumouR Information and Analysis Network) is an online app developed by The Brain Tumour Charity to help people cope with a brain tumour. Download the BRIAN app.

If you have any questions on the BRIAN app, please contact Paolo Jose De Luna on 020 3565 6540 or email paolojose.deluna@nhs.net.

Art Therapy Service

We offer art therapy for our patients which can be a valuable part of your treatment programme, offering psychological support, and contributing to improved general well-being.

If you are interested to participate in art psychotherapy, please inform your clinical specialist nurse. For referrals, you can call 020 3465 5516.
 

For clinicians

For routine outpatient referrals, please use the NHS e-Referral system.

Research

We run a number of clinical trials on brain tumours and conduct research projects at Barts Health. The following are clinical trials are open:

  1. PARADIGM (OlaPArib And RADiotherapy In newly-diagnosed GlioblastoMa)
  2. FUTURE-GB (Functional and Ultrasound guided Resection of Glioblastoma – a two-stage trial)
  3. BRIOCHE (Brain Re-Irradiation Or Chemotherapy)
  4. ZGBM (Improving treatment of glioblastoma: distinguishing progression from pseudoprogression)

The following clinical trials are in development:

  1. NeAT Glio (A Phase II Trial of Neoadjuvant Therapy in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma)
  2. BRAIN MATRIX (Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX Platform Study)
  3. FIGHT 209 (A Phase 2 Open-Label, Single-Arm, Multicentre Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Pemigatinib in Participants with Previously Treated Glioblastoma or Other Primary CNS Tumours Harboring Activating FGFR Mutations or Translocations)
  4. Brain App (Feasibility, acceptability and relationship to standard measures of near-patient sensing through a mobile app and machine learning – an observational non-randomised phase II trial in patients with primary brain tumours)
  5. SIEVERT (StudyIng tumour and microenvironment EVolution following External beam Radiation Therapy)
  6. APPROACH (Analysis of Proton vs Photon Radiotherapy in Oligodendroglioma and Assessment of Cognitive Health)

If you want to participate in research or donate your data to improve brain tumour care, you can speak to your care team about this.

For more information on basic research carried out at Queen Mary University of London, visit this website.