Senator John McCain recently disclosed that he has a glioblastoma, one of the most common but also one of the most deadly brain tumors. According to reports, the type of tumor Senator McCain has is particularly aggressive. The median survival of a glioblastoma is roughly 16-18 months. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, glioblastoma represent 14.9% of all primary brain tumors, and 55.4% of all gliomas. In addition, glioblastoma has the highest number of cases of all malignant tumors, with an estimated 12,390 new cases predicted in 2017.

Penn Medicine researchers are at the forefront developing new treatments, such as CAR T-cell therapy, and novel minimally invasive surgeries to treat cancer.

If you are currently working on a story related to Senator John McCain’s diagnosis or planning a related story about glioblastoma or other related brain cancers, I’d be more than happy to help you schedule an interview with any of our Penn Medicine Experts in the areas of Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology and Precision Surgery:

  • Donald M. O'Rourke, MD, is an associate professor of Neurosurgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. O'Rourke is a renowned expert in the clinical management of patients with primary and metastatic brain tumors. Most recently, Dr. O’Rourke served as the principal investigator of a pilot study in humans in which 10 patients with highly malignant glioblastoma brain tumors received a treatment regimen called CAR T cell therapy that reengineers people's own immune cells to recognize cancer-specific proteins. The findings, published July 19 in Science Translational Medicine, could eventually expand the use of CAR T cell-based regimens beyond blood-based cancers like leukemia to solid tumors.
  • Steven Brem, MD, is a professor of Neurosurgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and co-director of the Brain Tumor Center at Penn. Dr. Brem is experienced in complex brain tumor surgery, surgery of intrinsic and metastatic brain tumors, pituitary tumors, acoustic neuromas, meningiomas, skull base surgery, brain mapping, health outcomes, and evidence-based medicine. Dr. Brem is also the author of Glioblastoma, a one-stop guidebook that provides neurosurgeons, medical-and-radiation oncologists, neuro-oncologists, neuropathologists, internal medicine physicians, and researchers with a dependable source of information on current treatment options, tumor recurrence, and patient care.
  • John Y.K. Lee, MD, MSCE, an associate professor of Neurosurgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and co-director of the Center for Precision Surgery at Penn. Lee has a passion for minimally invasive ways to treat brain and skull base tumors. This passion is expressed as a commitment to endoscopic approaches to remove pituitary, clival, acoustic neuromas and other skull-base tumors. Another expression of his interest in minimally invasive methods is his devotion to stereotactic radiosurgery, eg. "incision-less" brain surgery. Dr. Lee also has experience with an experimental cancer imaging tool that makes tumors glow brightly during surgery. The fluorescent dye technique, originally developed by surgeons at the Penn Center for Precision Surgery to treat lung cancer, illuminates brain tumors in real-time during surgery, helping physicians distinguish between healthy and damaged tissue.
  • Robert Lustig, MD, is a professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is experienced in the treatment of acoustic neuromas, brain cancer, brain metastasis, brain tumors, orbital tumors, radiation oncology for the brain, radiation treatment, skin cancer, spinal cord cancer, spinal tumor, and thyroid cancer.

Our experts are available for phone or on-camera interviews.