Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00
Dr. David Chalif, chief of neurovascular neurosurgery and co-director of the NSUH Brain Aneurysm Center at North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital in Manhasset, will be awarded the 2012 Robert Bernstein Humanitarian Award at the event. Chalif, who saw Bernstein as a patient, said that despite a lot of medical progress over the course of his career, particularly in digital imaging techniques, the prognosis for patients with this often aggressive cancer is sobering.
“The treatment of brain tumors has made major advances, and the understanding of brain tumors has really entered a new phase. However, the survival from malignant brain tumors is still a very disappointing number to both neurosurgeons and families,” said Chalif, going on to say that the survival rate for patients with brain tumors hasn’t much improved from several decades ago. The neurosurgeon went on to say that in his opinion, the person who goes on to win a Nobel Prize in the neurosciences will be someone who makes a breakthrough that makes a significant statistical difference in that survival rate.
Like many in the field, Chalif hopes that if the current research—some of which is even being done at North Shore LIJ—leads to a new understanding of brain cancer, there could come a day when a once aggressive, malignant brain tumor could perhaps go into remission for a decade…or two.
“When that day comes, that will be a major breakthrough, and we have not yet come to that point,” said Chalif.
Chalif credits Dr. Michael Schulder, who will also be honored at the Run For Rob, and Dr. Mark Symons, Ph.D at North Shore LIJ, for doing the kind of research that could lead to a critical breakthrough in brain tumor treatment. Symons is currently researching how tumors move and invade.
As of this writing, 17 teams of participants have registered for this year’s Run For Rob, and the event has already raised over $30,000 for brain cancer research. In addition to Chalif, the event will also honor Michael Schulder, M.D., FAANS, vice chairman, department of neurosurgery and director, Brain Tumor Center at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute; Margot Miller; Jason DiCarlo; Jeffrey Treuman; Gary Goldberg; Ginny Bautz; Fatemeh Zanjanian-Tehrani and Cheryl Stasky.
“It’s the type of thing, getting a brain tumor, that frequently comes out of nowhere, and that was the case for Dr. Bernstein,” said Chalif, noting that people aren’t as aware of brain cancer as many other diseases, yet it still affects tens of thousands of people. However, he sees events like Run For Rob as a step in the right direction: raising awareness about the disease, while also helping to make people aware of the exciting potential benefits of funding cutting edge cancer research; there could be an incredible breakthrough just around the corner.
The 2nd Annual Run for Rob will be held at 99 Quaker Meeting House Road at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale on Sunday, Oct. 28. Registration beings at 9 a.m., and the run/walk will begin at 9:45 a.m. Members of the community are invited to form teams, or join an existing team, in order to raise funds for brain cancer research in Dr. Bernstein’s memory. To connect with an existing team or start your own, visit www.voicesinmotion.org/runforrob.