Neuro-Oncology

The Neuro-Oncology program at UNM’s Comprehensive Cancer Center cares for people with brain and spinal tumors. Whether the tumors start in the brain or spinal cord, or whether they spread to these areas, our team provides the most advanced care from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. 

“We’re one of the few centers [in the country] having clinical trials testing new therapeutics for brain tumors, including immunotherapies and nanoparticles. This is quite unique.”

– Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD

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Meet the Team

Medical Oncologists

...  treat tumors of the entire nervous system using medical treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immune therapy. With special training in brain and spine tumors, our Medical Oncologists manage clinical trials that include the newest targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

Singers, dancers, mathematicians — my job is to preserve that function. My goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible, but never compromise their unique function. Careful mapping of the tumor allows us to remove as much of the tumor as possible. I’m going to do that. The last thing I want to do is take away the mental faculty that is most important to [my patients].

– M. Omar Chohan, MD

Surgical Oncologists

...at UNM can treat some of the most complex and difficult brain tumors. Our team uses brain mapping and awake brain surgery to preserve memory, movement and speech. Using “intraoperative flouroscopy,” our surgeons mark tumor cells with a bright color. They can then safely remove as much of the tumor as possible without disturbing normal brain cells. Our team also offers several new and advanced procedures for spinal cord tumors: decompression and spinal column stabilization, percutaneous cement augmentation, and instrumentation to relieve pain from cancer tumors in the spine.

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Radiation Oncologists

... use different methods including stereotactic radiosurgery and external beam radiation to kill brain and spinal tumors that they can’t remove with surgery. These methods focus a radiation beam very sharply on the tumor but move the beam to avoid damaging healthy brain and spinal nerve cells.

Clinical trials help doctors and scientists to better screen, diagnose and treat cancer and to test new drugs and treatments. Our team works with UNM Cancer Center's internationally recognized team of scientists to translate research discoveries into clinical trials that help New Mexicans most.