The goal of the Duke Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis (DCBSM) is to provide patients with brain or spine metastases rapid access to multi-disciplinary, navigated care and the latest in treatment options.
Patients are guaranteed appointments within 72 hours and can see all the necessary providers (oncologists, radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, and/or palliative care specialists) on the same day and under one roof.
All patients are assigned to a navigator who knows their treatment goals, coordinates their tests and appointments, and helps see them through their care at Duke. Our care teams communicate daily, and a board of experts meets weekly to review cases. Patients’ goals of care are defined up front and honored at all times. EVERY patient has access to cutting-edge care, technologies, research, and clinical trials. These differences are what make us the leading destination center for patients whose cancer has spread to the brain or spine.
The DCBSM offers state-of-the-art treatment options to patients not only with a new or first-time metastatic cancer diagnosis but also those who may be experiencing progression since previous treatment. Options for all patients can include surgery, stereotactic radiation therapy, chemotherapy, laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), targeted therapies, immunotherapy, and more. We also provide access to more than a dozen clinical trials studying the latest advances in treatment and patient care. Many of these trials test therapies and approaches that were developed here and may be available only at Duke.
Importantly, the DCBSM is one of the highest-volume centers in the U.S. for laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), a minimally invasive surgical procedure offered at only a handful of U.S. hospitals. This robotic-assisted laser surgical technique is often our preferred approach for recurrent brain metastases; for deeper brain tumors that may be more difficult to remove with open surgery; or for patients with radiation necrosis (an inflammatory condition that can affect certain patients following radiation treatment). LITT procedures are performed in our advanced intra-operative MRI suite, enabling precise targeting of the tumor(s). LITT incisions are generally < 1cm, and patients frequently leave the next morning with just a bandaid for a dressing. The DCBSM continuously aims to lead in the discovery and use of the newest treatments for patients. Cutting-edge research being performed by the world’s thought leaders in cancer is a key component to our success. With help from our researchers, caregivers, and patients, we promise to keep advancing the field and to bring the greatest possible improvements to our patients’ overall survival and quality of life.