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As a neurosurgeon-scientist, Dr. Cahill's clinical practice is focused on the care of brain tumor patients, improving clinical trials of therapy for these patients, and training neurosurgical residents in the diagnosis and treatment of these cancers.Dr. Cahill was born and raised in Connecticut, attending Yale College and then moving to Baltimore to Johns Hopkins Medical School, receiving his MD/PhD degrees in 2001. His PhD was in Human Genetics, in the laboratory of Drs. Ken Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein. He then completed neurosurgery residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. David Louis of Pathology. After completion of his clinical training, he joined the junior faculty in Neurosurgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He later re-joined the faculty of the MGH Brain Tumor Center in 2011, where he is currently in active practice. He sees patients in the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care, and his research laboratory is located in the Simches Research Building Brain Tumor Research Center.
Dr. Cahill's laboratory-based research effort aims to identify the molecular genetic alterations that underlie the development, progression and treatment resistance of brain tumors. By understanding the mechanism by which tumor genome alterations drive the growth of these cancers, therapeutic strategies can be designed to improve outcomes for these patients. His research effort has contributed key observations regarding the molecular mechanisms of chemoresistance in human glioblastomas, where combined radiation and alkylating chemotherapy temozolomide are the standard-of-care. In close collaboration with Dr. Hiro Wakimoto in the Translational Neuro-Oncology Laboratory of the MGH Brain Tumor Research Center, his more recent work has focused on the subgroup of gliomas characterized by IDH mutation and on targeted therapeutics for brain tumors. To facilitate precision medicine approaches for diverse CNS tumors, Dr. Cahill has participated in a broadly collaborative effort with Drs. Priscilla Brastianos and Fred Barker to characterize the molecular genetic alterations within multiple tumor types (craniopharyngioma, hemangioblastoma, spinal cord tumors, brain metastases, meningiomas, and others).This research work has a track record of successful competitive peer-reviewed funding from the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation, the Brain Tumor Society, the National Brain Tumor Foundation, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Medical Sciences, the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center/MIT Koch Institute Bridge Program, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health.
View my most recent publications at PubMed
A new study has found that patients with malignant astrocytoma – the most common malignant brain tumor – whose tumors carry a specific genetic mutation benefit greatly from surgical removal of the largest possible amount of tumor.
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