The Keck School of Medicine of USC recently hosted a symposium for the American Brain Tumor Association, called Partners in Treatment and Care, that was attended by dozens of patients, family members and caregivers from the Los Angeles area.

The June 10 symposium offered attendees the opportunity to hear from Keck School faculty members about advances in treatments for patients with brain tumors as well as the promising research that soon may change the way clinicians treat brain tumors.

Thomas Chen, MD, PhD, professor of neurological surgery, discussed new devices and cutting-edge drug delivery systems, such as intranasal drug delivery for brain tumors, which promises to be more effective at delivering drugs to the brain while having fewer side effects.

Gabriel Zada, MD, associate professor of neurological surgery (clinical scholar), shared information about clinical trials and the process of approving new drugs, to help patients better understand the process as well as how to find clinical trials that may benefit them.

Several other faculty members, including Naveed Wagle, MD, assistant professor of clinical neurology, and Josh Neman, PhD, assistant professor of neurological surgery, participated in a panel discussion aimed at helping both patients and caregivers meet the challenges of living with or taking care of a person who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.

The ABTA has held similar events around the country, but this was the first time such an event had been held in Los Angeles. The event was open to brain tumor patients across Los Angeles, not just those being treated at Keck Medicine of USC.

Based on the feedback that the faculty organizers have received from patients, Neman, one of the symposium organizers, said he hopes to make this an annual event.

“We are honored to have hosted ABTA’s first Los Angeles patient symposium at the Keck School,” said Steven Giannotta, MD, chair and professor of neurological surgery at the Keck School. “Events like these are empowering for patients, inspiring for physicians and are important for fostering a sense of shared mission.”

— Hope Hamashige