The Brain Science Foundation held the Fourth Annual Meningioma Awareness Day: Empowerment Starts Here on Friday, October 1, and Saturday October 2, 2010. Patients and their family members and caregivers had the opportunity to join medical professionals and brain tumor advocates to learn more about the detection, treatment and management of meningioma. Sponsored by the Hahnemann Hospital Foundation and the Daniel E. Ponton Fund for the Neurosciences at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, the event attracted participants from all over the United States.

This year’s event had an added component, affording participants the opportunity to speak directly with doctors and other health care professionals. On the evening of Friday, October 1, guests arrived at Boston’s historical Hampshire House (home of “Cheers”) where they were welcomed by BSF leadership and world renowned medical professionals for an informal question and answer session. The evening event, “One-on-One: Your Questions Answered”, was sponsored by the Daniel E. Ponton Fund for the Neurosciences at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and was intended to give patients and their families a chance to dialogue directly with doctors and nurses regarding their care. Sixteen healthcare professionals were on hand to sit with patients and caregivers to answer their questions and help lead them to available resources. Attendees were welcomed by Steven Haley, BSF Founder, David Silbersweig, MD, Director of the Institute for the Neurosciences at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Daniel Ponton, event sponsor and BSF Trustee. The evening culminated with an elegant buffet and reception, giving attendees an opportunity for networking and fellowship.

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, participants arrived at the state of the art Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School for a day of seminars regarding meningioma. The day was divided into segments that follow the journey from diagnosis through post-treatment management. Each segment was introduced by a patient or caregiver who shared their story with the audience before presenting the next topic area. The first segment was entitled Current Epidemiology and featured lectures by Carol Kruchko, President of the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States and Elizabeth Claus, PhD, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Claus, a BSF Principal Investigator and pioneer in the field of meningioma epidemiology, has recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health to support the first ever Genome Wide Association Study of Meningioma. Dr. Claus and her colleagues from the Meningioma Consortium were on hand to share information on the study and even enroll participants. The Consortium hopes to identify and examine the environmental, genetic, pathological and clinical variables associated with meningioma risk. Ms. Kruchko presented a historical review on the collection and reporting of brain tumor statistics, as well as their impact on research and treatment, noting that 34% of all primary brain tumors in the United States are classified as meningioma, making it the most frequently reported brain tumor.

In the next segment, participants learned about the Integrated Patient Centered Care Model that is being launched at the Institute for the Neurosciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Institute Director David Silbersweig, MD, Research Leader Philip De Jager, MD, described the model as “one-stop shopping” for patients, where the specialists from the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, neuroradiology and neuropathology work together to provide coordinated care to the whole patient. This concept of coordinated healthcare is mutually beneficial to the patient and medical professional, and will revolutionize healthcare delivery. Susceptibility and Detection was the next topic area, and Mark Johnson, MD PhD, and Rameen Beroukhim, MD, PhD, gave talks concerning Cancer Genomics and Meningioma. Johnson discussed what has been learned in recent years about the behavior of meningioma, and how this information may alter the diagnosis and treatment of meningiomas in the future. Beroukhim went on to discuss how technical advances have reduced the cost of genome reconstruction. This will allow scientists to better identify what went wrong in meningioma cells, thereby laying the groundwork for determining how to treat meningioma.

Drs. Alex Golby and Nathalie Agar presented the next topic area, Image Guided Therapy. Dr. Golby discussed current and future imaging techniques for neurosurgical planning and intra-operative decision making. Dr. Agar then gave a talk about the role of mass spectrometry in image guided surgery.

The next segment, Treatment and Dialogue with your Physician, featured Neurosurgeon Ossama Al-Mefty, MD, Neuro-oncologist Patrick Wen, MD and Radiation Oncologist Stephanie Weiss, MD. Dr. Al-Mefty addressed the all-important question, “Will my meningioma come back?” He discussed the role of surgery in influencing the possibility of recurrence. Dr. Wen’s talk detailed information on chemotherapies, hormonal therapies and targeted molecular therapies. Dr. Weiss demystified the use of radiotherapy in meningioma treatment.

Drs. Jong Woo Lee and William Gormley delved into the issue of Managing Symptoms Post Treatment, including side effects from medications and prevention of secondary complications.
National Brain Tumor Society’s Director of Patient Services, Harriet Patterson, MPH, delivered the final segment of the day, Healthcare Reform and Patient Issues. Ms. Patterson talked about the impact of Healthcare Reform on patient care, specifically for the brain tumor patient.

The day drew to a close with remarks from BSF Founder Steven Haley, including an announcement that the Fifth Annual Meningioma Awareness Day will be held in April of 2012, as a kick off for Brain Tumor Awareness Month. The BSF would like to thank the Hahnemann Hospital Foundation and the Daniel E. Ponton Fund for the Neurosciences at Brigham & Women’s Hospital for their generosity in sponsoring Meningioma Awareness Day 2010. We are also grateful to our planning committee and speakers for devoting their time and effort toward this conference.

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