Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors Program

The Penn Difference

Innovative Research... Advanced Medicine... Service Excellence

  • Nationally recognized experts
  • Advanced diagnostic testing, treatments and technologies
  • Coordinated care
  • Support services
  • A reputation for sensitivity and responsiveness
  • Personalized attention
  • Innovative clinical trials
  • The backing of a major research program with immediate translation to patient care

What sets Penn's Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Program apart?

Our goal is to provide the best chance for cure while preserving quality of life for each patient. The program's patient-centered approach means your team of physicians, therapists and nurses provide the care and support you and your family need.

Penn's Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors Program is distinguished in a number of ways including:


  • Oncologists, neuro-oncologists and neurosurgeons who are full-time faculty of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Dedicated neuro-radiologists and pathologists who work with the team to achieve a precise diagnosis.
  • U.S.News & World Report ranked the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania the highest in the region for Neurosurgery and Neurology.
  • Penn specialists use diffusion tensor MRI brain mapping in the OR to help visualize and navigate during surgery. Tumors that once would have been considered inoperable are now operable.
  • Access to an array of Radiation Oncology treatments available at very few Centers.
  • Options include; stereotactic radiosurgery , CyberKnife®, Gamma Knife® and GammaKnife PerfexionTM, Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and Proton therapy.
  • Our clinical trials program, which evaluates the effectiveness of new therapies, gives our patients access to the latest treatment advances, including gene therapy.
  • Behind the scenes, our acclaimed laboratory research program is addressing some of the most fundamental CNS tumor problems, to develop strategies that will have the greatest likelihood of becoming a major advance in CNS cancer treatment.
  • Penn is home to one of largest brain tumor tissue banks in the country, with more than 4,000 specimens catalogued. This repository allows Penn doctors to search for specific gene signatures and develop personalized treatment options.
  • Penn neurosurgeons, were able to accurately predict the specific genetic mutation that caused brain cancer in a group of patients studied using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This is the first demonstration that an MRI, or any imaging technique, can accurately predict the type of mutation of a human tumor.
  • Penn investigators showed that a recurrent mutation reported in over 70% of gliomas creates an onco-metabolite (2-hydroxyglutarate). These tests provide a potential diagnostic marker to follow disease progression.