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Gary (Gary) Jay Brenner, MD, PhD

  • Director, MGH Pain Medicine Fellowship


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Gary J. Brenner, MD, PhD, currently sees patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital Pain Center and is the Director of the MGH Pain Medicine Fellowship. He is an Assistant Professor in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School.


Anesthesia, Critical Care & Pain Medicine

Clinical Interests
  • Treatment of chronic pain, both medical and interventional.
  • Treatment of pain due to spinal degeneration
  • Treatment of pain due to nerve injury
  • Treatment of cancer-related pain
  • Spinal cord stimulation for pain managment.
Medical Education
  • MD, PhD, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
  • Pain Medicine
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • Centene/Celticare
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - Connecticut
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Rhode Island
  • OSW - Vermont
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare - ACD
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - ACD
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
Patient Age Group

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Gary J. Brenner, MD, PhD, currently sees patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital Pain Center where he is the Director of the MGH Pain Medicine Fellowship. He is an Assistant Professor in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. He also conducts neuroscience research that investigates mechanisms of pain hypersensitivity, and has authored more than 30 articles, reviews, chapters, and abstracts on the pathophysiology of pain, basic pain mechanisms and immune function, and clinical approaches to chronic pain. Dr. Brenner currently has several national leadership positions related to pain medicine education/training.

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Research & Publications

Research Summary

Research Areas

  • Development animal models and gene therapy for the neurofibromatoses.
  • Investigation of nociceptive circuits in the brain utilizing behavioral testing and functional imaging in the context of optogenetic odulation.

Description of Research   

My laboratory currently focuses efforts on two projects.  The first involves the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of Schwann-cell derived nerve sheath tumors.  In particular, we are utilizing adenovirus associated vectors to deliver caspase-1 to tumor cells.  Delivery of this apoptosis-generating transgene both directly kills tumor cells in which it is expressed and activates anti-tumor host responses.  We are investigating the mechanisms through which our vector kills tumor and are developing the therapeutic strategy for translation into phase 0/1 clinical trials.

The second project utilizes optogenetic modulation of brain circuits to investigate nociceptive processing that occurs in the context of nociceptive sensitization associated with peripheral nerve injury.  This approach may improve the positive predictive value for preclinical modeling of clinical pain.
  • Brenner GJ, Felten SY, Felten DL, Cohen N and Moynihan JA.  Chemical sympathectomy is associated with increased pulmonary metastases.  Journal of Neuroimmunology.  1992;37:191-202.
  • Brenner GJ, Cohen N and Moynihan JA.  Similar immune response to nonlethal infection with Herpes Simplex virus-1 in sensitive (BALB/c) and resistant (C57Bl/6) mice.  Cellular Immunology.  1994;157:510-24.
  • Ji RR, Baba H, Brenner GJ and Woolf CJ. Nociceptive specific activation of ERK in spinal neurons contributes to pain hypersensitivity.  Nature Neuroscience. 1999;2:1114-9.
  • Prabhakar S, Brenner GJ, Tannous BA, Sena-Esteves M and Breakefield XO.  Imaging and therapy of experimental schwannomas using HSV amplicon vector encoding apoptotic protein under control of a Schwann cell promoter.  Cancer Gene Therapy.  2010;17(4):266-74.
  • Saydam O, Ozdener GB, Senol O, Mizrak A, Prabhakar  P, Stemmer-Rachamimov AO, Breakefield XO and Brenner GJ.  A novel imaging-compatible sciatic nerve schwannoma model.  Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2011:195(1)75-77.
  • Brenner GJ, Nemark JL and Raemer D. A Curriculum and Cases for Pain Medicine Crisis Resource Management Education.  Anesthesia and Analgesia. In press.
  • Prabhakar S, Taherian M, Gianni D, Conlon TJ, Fulci J, Brockmann J, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Sena-Esteves M,  Breakefield XO and Brenner GJ. Regression of Schwannomas induced by AAV-Mediated Delivery of Caspase-1. Human Gene Therapy. In press.

Selected publications

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Center for Pain Medicine
15 Parkman Street
Boston MA, 02114-3117
Phone: 617-726-8810
Fax: 617-726-3441

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