For more than two decades, Dheerendra Prasad, MD, MCh, FACRO, has led Roswell Park’s Gamma Knife radiosurgery program, successfully treating more than 7,000 patients with this non-invasive, technologically advanced option for those with brain-related conditions. Roswell Park was the first cancer center in the U.S. to install a Leksell Gamma Knife Icon.
As director of the Gamma Knife Center, Dr. Prasad leads a team of physicists, radiologists and radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons and nurses who plan and deliver highly complex treatments to our patients.
The Roswell Park program is the only one in New York state set up as a community resource, training and credentialing area neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists, ensuring they meet Roswell Park’s high-quality standards in patient care. Dr. Prasad also serves as an onsite advisor and mentor to more than 60 institutions around the world with Gamma Knife radiosurgery programs.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a first-line therapy for multiple brain tumors and new standard of care for multiple brain metastases, is a safer, cognition-sparing treatment that improves medical outcomes and quality of life. Using Gamma Knife radiosurgery in lieu of whole-brain radiotherapy reduces the time a patient spends in the hospital from three weeks to three hours on a single day.
Dr. Prasad recently spoke about why Roswell Park continues to invest in this groundbreaking technology.
“Over the course of 20 years, we have always brought the latest technology to bear on our patients’ illnesses,” Dr. Prasad says. “We feel in the service of our referring physicians, patients and their families, this is a critical investment.”
Dr. Prasad and the Roswell Park Gama Knife Center are now using the Leksell Gamma Knife Lightning.
Dr. Prasad explains, “We can now make treatment plans that are more capable of saving critical structures and can be done with great speed, and we also can make multiple treatment scenarios for our patients and compare them in a very rapid manner.”
The Roswell Park program also uses ancillary software that “allows us to craft fibers in the brain when we’re treating patients with non-cancer conditions like tremor,” Dr. Prasad adds.
“In those patients, we can demonstrate successful sectioning of tremor pathways in the brain following Gamma Knife surgery and correlate it to clinical improvement in the patient’s tremor. We can do this for pain conditions like trigeminal neuralgia.”
The team is also able to analyze the effects of radiation treatments on the brain “to satisfactorily distinguish between treatment effect and recurring tumor, a distinction that could be critical in a patient whose MRI is not clear in terms of these two conditions.
“This resolution, the ability to pick up early occurrence, and treating will help us overall control the cancer better,” he says. “Similarly, identifying a side effect early allows us to treat it and minimize the side effect and its neurological complications for the patient.”
Dr. Prasad emphasizes that the focus of the Roswell Park Gamma Knife Center is to treat only the specific cancer and not the rest of the brain, preserving cognition, memory and better quality of life for patients.
If you’d like to learn more about the Gamma Knife Center at Roswell Park, contact Roswell Park at physiciansresources.roswellpark.org or by connecting with Dr. Prasad here on Doximity.