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Spotlight on Neurosurgery

James Rutka receives 2019 Cushing Medal from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons

Dr. James Rutka, SickKids Pediatric Neurosurgeon and RS McLaughlin Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, received the Cushing Medal from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), on Tuesday April 16th, at its Annual Meeting in San Diego.

The Cushing Medal, named after Dr. Harvey Cushing, the founder of neurosurgery as a specialty within surgery in 1919, is the highest honor that the AANS can bestow on a member.  Given annually since 1976, the award recognizes an AANS member for distinguished service and outstanding contributions to and accomplishments in neurosurgery.

Dr. Rutka is only the second Canadian to receive the Cushing Medal in its history.  In his acceptance speech, Dr. Rutka thanked the staff of the AANS, his colleagues on the AANS Executive Committee, the Editorial Staff of the Journal of Neurosurgery, of which Dr. Rutka is Editor-in-Chief, and his family.  When asked about the importance of the award, Dr. Rutka said: “Receiving the Cushing Medal from the AANS is one of the greatest honours of my professional career, as it is an organization in which I have worked hard to make a difference these past 30 years”. 

Founded in 1931 as the Harvey Cushing Society, the AANS is a scientific and educational association with more than 8,000 members worldwide. The AANS is dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurological surgery to provide the highest quality of neurosurgical care to patients.

Scientists ‘reverse engineer’ brain cancer cells to find new targets for treatment

Glioblastoma is one of the most devastating forms of cancer, with few existing treatment options. Scientists have ‘reverse engineered’ brain cancer stem cells gene by gene, uncovering multiple potential targets for this hard-to-treat cancer. Read more.

First Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to Treat Drug-Resistant Paediatric Epilepsy In Canada

In the first use of deep brain stimulation to treat paediatric epilepsy in Canada, SickKids and UHN doctors try to reduce daily seizures. Neurosurgeons from SickKids, including Dr. George Ibrahim, and Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) have performed the first deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treat drug-resistant paediatric epilepsy in Canada. With only 40 published cases of the procedure being performed in children for this condition, Andi Dreher, 9, is among the first in the world to undergo this treatment. Read more.

Spina Bifida Repaired In Utero

In a Canadian first, a team from Mount Sinai Hospital and SickKids repaired a form of spina bifida in a fetus at 25 weeks gestation. Read more.

INFE Lifetime Achievement Award Presentation to Dr. James Drake

From the Chairman of the International Federation of Neuroendoscopy (IFNE):  

"Dr. James Drake (Head, Division of Neurosurgery, Hospital for Sick Children) received the Award for Life Time Outstanding Contribution to the Research and Clinical Practice of Hydrocephalus and Neuroendoscopy from the International Federation of Neuroendoscopy (IFNE).  The award will be presented at the 8th Annual IFNE World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2017.  Please join me in congratulating Jim on this well-deserved recognition of his tremendous contributions to the field."

Tracing Single Brain Cancer Cells Simplifies Complexity of Incurable Brain Cancers

Using an innovative barcode-like system that tracks the behaviour of individual brain cancer cells, an international research team has gained a new understanding of how glioblastoma brain cancers grow and has identified potential new ways of treating these incurable cancers. Read more

12 New Subtypes of Medulloblastoma Discovered

In 2010, scientists at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto discovered that it was actually composed of four different subgroups, each with its own molecular composition and clinical characteristics.

Now, researchers from SickKids and around the world have found these four subgroups separate further into a dozen different subtypes the researchers are calling “the dirty dozen”. These subtypes exhibit different clinical behaviour, marking a significant step forward towards developing personalized treatment for children with medulloblastoma. The study was published in the June 12 edition of Cancer Cell.

The study was co-led by Drs. Michael Taylor, Ramaswamy and Goldenberg and involved an international team of 95 researchers including first authors Dr. Florence Cavalli from SickKids and Dr. Marc Remke from the University of Düsseldorf. 

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