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Brain Metastases Study Indicative of Expanding Research and Innovation Focus at Baptist Health


A recent study on the immune modulating effects of radiation therapy on brain metastases is indicative of Baptist Health South Florida’s increased emphasis on clinical research.

The study examined the outcomes for patients treated with high-dose, focused radiation therapy to the tumor at least one day before resection surgery.

According to Michael W. McDermott, M.D., one of the study’s co-authors and Chief Medical Executive of Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute, studies like this demonstrate the power of clinical investigations and Baptist Health’s integrated focus on medical research.

“At Baptist Health, we’re moving from being purely a center of clinical care to one that is more academically oriented in clinical research. This study is representative of that shift. It’s a prime example of asking a question that may have significant implications for patient treatment down the road,” Dr. McDermott said.

Innovation and Research Expanding at Baptist Health

Michael W. McDermott, M.D.

Michael W. McDermott, M.D.

Dr. McDermott said Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute’s journey of discovery and innovation is well underway, thanks to neuroscience grand rounds, case conferences and a variety of ongoing research studies. The establishment of the Irma & Kalman Bass Endowed Chair in Clinical Neuroscience is key to this growth.

“Neuroscience is a rapidly changing field and requires substantial resources to advance education, research and patient care. The endowment will allow us to provide innovative treatments for brain, spine and nervous system disorders as well as recruit world-class physicians,” Dr. McDermott said.

Further, the Baptist Health Foundation makes funding available for continuing education programming, research scholars, lectureships and clinical neuroscience research grants.

A series of 12 invited lectureships began in May 2022 with Dade Lunsford, M.D., the Lars Leksell Professor and Distinguished Professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Comprehensive Approach to Research: Study Reveals Dramatic Results

“Partnerships are key to furthering research at Baptist Health, as evidenced by the brain metastases study,” Dr. McDermott said. “Interdisciplinary collaboration allows us to address bigger, more complex scientific questions and expand the breadth of our overall research endeavors.”

Rupesh Kotecha, M.D.

Rupesh Kotecha, M.D.

The study required the expertise of multiple disciplines from Miami Neuroscience Institute and Miami Cancer Institute, including radiation oncology, medical oncology, neurosurgery and neuro-oncology.

Published in the March 2022 edition of the peer-reviewed medical journal Scientific Reports, the study was the first in-human evaluation of the acute biological effects of stereotactic radiosurgery/stereotactic radiotherapy in resected brain metastasis. 

Rupesh Kotecha, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Miami Cancer Institute, was the study’s principal investigator. Dr. Kotecha and his team analyzed brain metastases samples collected over the past five years and stored in the Institute’s onsite biorepository. Based on clinical outcomes seen among the Institute’s patients, Dr. Kotecha said investigators expected noteworthy results. But the results in patient mortality were remarkable.

“The numbers were very, very encouraging,” Dr. Kotecha said. “The control rate at one year was 95%. That’s the highest we’ve ever seen for this type of cancer. We also learned more about the effects of high-dose radiation in tumors through detailed analysis of the surgical specimens.” 

Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute includes a Joint Commission Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, offering multispecialty physician clinics and an NAEC Epilepsy Program, among other offerings. The Institute’s epilepsy program is accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers as a level 4 epilepsy center, the highest level possible; and the Intraoperative Monitoring Department received the top-tier accreditation from the Neurophysiologic Intraoperative Monitoring Laboratory Accreditation Board of ABRET — the first in Florida, one of 27 in the U.S. and one of only 30 in the world to achieve this accreditation. Baptist Health clinical researchers are involved in more than 125 studies across a wide variety of specialties.

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