Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit) 

The Brain Tumour Unit offers high-quality treatment and care to patients with, or suspected of having, any form of brain or spinal tumour.  We provide multidisciplinary care for patients who are referred from other hospitals or GPs.  Brain and spinal tumours are relatively rare conditions but they can cause significant problems for patients and carers and require a variety of different experts to treat and care for patients.

At the NHNN this care is delivered by different members of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT). The team meet once a week to formally review and discuss cases. Patients will then meet the most appropriate member of the team to discuss the proposed treatment plan.

There are five specialist MDTs including Brain tumours, Skull base tumours, Pituitary tumours, Spinal tumours and Rehabilitation and non-surgical care.

The service provides:

  • Comprehensive state of the art investigation, treatment and support for patients with brain and spinal tumours.

 

  • Neurosurgery

    State of the art operative facilities are available at the NHNN – there are five fully equipped neurosurgical theatres including an intraoperative MR imaging suite which is extensively utilised in neuro-oncology surgery. Image guidance and microscopy are routine and other adjuncts such as gliolan fluorescence and ‘awake’ craniotomy are readily available/used. The backup of a large intensive care unit on site dedicated to the neurosurgical patients makes major neurosurgical oncology procedures as safe as possible.

  • Radiotherapy

    The world class Radiotherapy Department at UCLH is equipped with the latest radiation technology to facilitate delivery of a wide range of specialist and state of the art treatments.

    The department provides intensity modulated radiotherapy, and was the first centre in the UK to establish RapidARC IMRT for brain tumours. RapidArc is a form of volumetric arc therapy which provides a quicker way to deliver an IMRT plan, with a lower whole body radiation dose. We are currently developing fractionated stereotactic RapidArc IMRT for brain tumours.
     
    The UK’s first Varian Truebeam Linear Accelerator was installed at UCLH and the first patients (all patients with brain tumours) were treated in September 2011. The Truebeam is the world’s fastest and most accurate linear accelerator.
     
    In April 2012, the Department of Health announced that UCLH would host one of the first two high-energy Proton Beam Treatment (PBT) centres in the UK with central government funding of 125 million pounds for each centre. Along with the Christie Hospital in Manchester, the UCLH PBT centre will apply the highest possible technical radiotherapy service to specific specialist patient groups who will benefit from this intervention.
  • Chemotherapy

    The UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre hosts the chemotherapy day unit where the majority of brain chemotherapy regimens are delivered. Chemotherapy is usually delivered on an outpatient basis in the Cancer Centre, but can be administered on the oncology wards if the patient is required to be admitted. Chemotherapy is provided by a team of oncologists.
     
    Patients referred to the UCLH Neuro-oncology MDT may go on to have radiotherapy and/ or chemotherapy treatment and have a choice of receiving treatment at the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre, or at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre.
  • Supportive care

    There are a range of additional services to support patients and their families from the time of diagnosis through to longer term follow up including the clinical nurse specialists, allied health professionals and palliative care.
     
    Patients meet a clinical nurse specialist when they have a stay in hospital or at a clinic appointment. The nurse specialist acts as a 'keyworker' and is a point of contact for patients and members of the multi-disciplinary team who they work closely with. They can provide additional information, advice, support and counselling for patients and their families. Specialist nurses are able to make referrals to other supportive care teams both within the hospital and in the wider community such as therapy teams, trained counsellors and community palliative care services.
     
    Patients at NHNN have access to our specialist therapy team, including occupational therapists, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. The therapy team provides specialist assessment and rehabilitation during admission and referral on to community therapy services for patient with ongoing needs.
     
    Our neuro-oncology palliative care service is led by a dedicated neuro-oncology palliative care consultant and is a unique service nationally. Patients can be referred to the service anytime during their disease trajectory. Patients are seen at both NHNN and UCLH and there is a dedicated neuro-oncology palliative care clinic. There is a visiting 24 hour on-call service providing urgent assessment for patients with unstable or deteriorating symptoms who are within our catchment area.
  • Neuroradiology

    The Lysholm Department of Neuroradiology at NHNN has been at the forefront of delivering a timely, comprehensive imaging service based on advanced imaging in patients with brain and spinal tumours. The department has four MR scanners, two of which are 3T, and two are 1.5T scanners. One of the latter is in an operating theatre within the Department, allowing intraoperative MR imaging (iMRI). The imaging is supported by five clinical scientists, who ensure that the highest quality is maintained and that new techniques are swiftly introduced in the clinical environment.
     
  • Neuropathology

    Our neuropathology department delivers top quality neuro-oncology diagnostic services whilst meeting all critical key performance indicators. The molecular pathology service is a leading service in the UK and provides extensive, clinically relevant molecular profiling of high grade and low grade gliomas, thus greatly facilitating identification and inclusion of patients into clinical trials.
  • Research

    The MDT participates in ongoing national and international studies for surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, facilitating access for patients to research programmes and experimental clinical trials.
     
    The NHNN and UCLH have an integrated close working relationship with University College London, and the NIHR / Wellcome UCLH Clinical Research Facility providing a nationally unrivalled environment for translation of basic science advances into patient benefit through experimental trials.
  • Brain metastases service

    The brain metastases service is dedicated to the aggressive management of secondary cancer in the brain in patients with good performance status, with limited or no active cancer outside the brain.  This service was set up six years ago and was the first such service in the UK. The service receives referrals from within UCLH and all over London as well as offering second opinions to patients from other centres in the UK.
     
    Patients are discussed in the weekly neuro-oncology MDT meeting, and are seen in a weekly clinic at the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre. In the clinic patients are seen by a specialist team consisting of a neurosurgeon (Mr Neil Kitchen), a neuro-oncologist (Dr Naomi Fersht) and a clinical nurse specialist. 
     
    Treatments used include surgery and radiosurgery, and advanced radiotherapy techniques.

    Following treatment, patients are kept under regular surveillance by the team, in close communication with the patient’s primary oncologist.
     
    Referrals can be made via the Brain Tumour Unit.

 What our patients say...

  • I really want to take this opportunity to say thank you for all your help when it was hard for Paul to come to terms with his cancer diagnosis. We really appreciate all your help. I wish you had been around when he was ill again. I know things would have been different.

  • Thank you so much for all your support and understanding this year. You have made things a lot easier to deal with and I am very grateful to you.

Dr Stephanie Baldeweg Long-term-follow-up (LTFU): Late effects of Cancer, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Dr Jeremy Rees Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neurology and neurosurgery
Dr Ananth Shankar Children and young people's cancer services, Children and young people's services , Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Dr Naomi Fersht Radiotherapy, Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neurology and neurosurgery
Dr Elena Wilson Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Dr Gary Hotton Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neurology and neurosurgery
Dr Paul Mulholland Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Dr Sara Stoneham Children and young people's cancer services, Children and young people's services , Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Miss Joan Grieve Neurosurgery, Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Mr Andrew McEvoy Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neurology and neurosurgery
Mr George Samandouras Neurosurgery, Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Mr Lewis Thorne Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neurology and neurosurgery
Mr Neil Dorward Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neurology and neurosurgery
Mr Neil Kitchen Neurosurgery, Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
Mr Robert Bradford Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neurology and neurosurgery
Prof Tarek Yousry Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit), Neuroradiology

 Contact details

Neuro-oncology (brain tumour unit)
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Box 78  
Queen Squiare
London, WC1N 3BG

Patient enquiries
Telephone: 020 3448 8830

GP enquiries
Telephone: 020 3448 8830
Fax: 020 3448 8832
Email: braintumourunit@uclh.nhs.uk

 Useful links