Brain and Spine Tumor Center

St. Luke's Brain & Spine Tumor Center

Members of Our Team

Hugh Moulding, MD 
St. Luke's Neurosurgical Associates

Neil Belman, DO
St. Luke's Hematology Oncology Specialists

Nimisha Deb, MD
Advanced Radiation Oncology Associates



What is it?

These tumors are abnormal growths that are found either inside the skull or the spinal column. They can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumors that can spread disease to other parts of the body.

The brain and spinal column are the primary components of the Central Nervous System (CNS). A tumor in these areas can place pressure on other sensitive tissues or structures and impair function.

There are several different types of brain and spinal cord tumors. They include:

  • Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is a malignant tumor that accounts for about 60 percent of all primary brain tumors in adults over the age of 50.
  • Meningiomas are usually benign tumors that arise from the meninges which are membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Typically, these tumors are slow growing.
  • Acoustic Neuromas are benign tumors of the eighth cranial nerve that can affect hearing, balance and head position.
  • Pituitary Adenomas are usually benign tumors that are located next to or within the pituitary gland.
    Cranial extensions of head and neck cancers (originating from cancers of the salivary glands, oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, sinuses and other locations)
  • Metastatic tumors can occur when there is spread of disease to the brain or spine from a primary cancer, such as lung cancer, breast cancer or melanoma.

Causes, Symptoms & Risk Factors

Individuals who have a brain tumor may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Behavioral and cognitive issues
  • Difficulty with motor skills
  • Balance problems

Spinal cord tumor symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Sensory changes
  • Difficulty with motor skills

Tests, Procedures & Treatments

A neurological exam will be performed to diagnose a tumor of the brain or spinal column. Additional tests that may be used to confirm the diagnosis include:

Treatments include:

  • Frameless Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) using Varian’s TrueBeam™ STx linear accelerator for malignant and benign brain tumors and some cerebrovascular malformations. The frameless system uses surface mapping – tracking the patient’s facial features during treatment – allowing SRS to be performed without using traditional frame-based immobilization devices – no “halo” ring, no pins into the skull. This provides a dramatically more comfortable and faster treatment and recovery experience that’s not available anywhere else in the area. Using 3-D computerized planning and imaging, SRS minimizes the amount of radiation exposure to normal, healthy tissues.
  • Medications to treat swelling/dysfunction of the CNS
  • Surgical resection using intraoperative Neuromonitoring (IOM) to assure maximum safety, and applying minimally invasive techniques such as neuronavigation and neuroendoscopy
  • Radiation therapy using RapidArc® technology or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)
  • Chemotherapies including access to novel clinical trials and investigational therapies

Why Choose St. Luke's

St. Luke's Brain & Spine Tumor Center provides the region's only patient-centered multidisciplinary clinic for primary and metastatic diseases of the brain and spine. The Center gives the patient an opportunity to meet a multidisciplinary team of doctors from neurosurgery, radiation therapy and medical oncology at one time and one location.

By bringing together physician expertise in these highly specialized areas, St. Luke's offers patients a cohesive, comprehensive, personalized treatment plan tailored to the each patient's diagnoses and unique needs without the need for the patient to travel to multiple locations and physicians. Patients benefit from innovative surgical, medical and radiation oncology treatment approaches and access to the latest clinical trials and investigational therapies.

A nurse navigator also is present to implement treatment plans and coordinate studies among the various departments. Her work continues between clinics to keep patients on track with treatment plans.

  • Dr. Hugh Moulding completed his fellowship in neurosurgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
  • Radiation oncologist Dr. Nimisha Deb and medical oncologist Dr. Neil Belman specialize in treating tumors of the brain and spine.
  • Dedicated neuroradiologists evaluate all imaging.
  • This expert multidisciplinary team meets weekly to ensure the most appropriate, effective and timely treatments are given.