“The Triological [Society] award has been very instrumental in allowing me to pursue all of my research activities and guide them toward maturation,” he said.
Explore This IssueSeptember 2011
A self-described “techie” with a keen interest in miniaturization and robotics, Dr. Zanation hopes to improve quality of life in patients who undergo skull-based tumor surgery by saving the brain from manipulation and damage during surgery.
“People think that the primary advantage of taking tumors out through the nose is the fact that there is no incision on the face or the head. While I agree that is an advantage, I don’t think it’s the primary advantage,” he said. “I think the primary advantage is that you are not moving the brain or the neurovascular structure.”
Dr. Zanation is building a database of information outside of what is traditionally collected in a medical record: sense of smell, sense of vision, sinus function and so on. To do so, his team administers one pre-operative test battery and three post-operative tests.
“If someday we are ever going to be able to compare outcomes between doing operations via the standard approaches or via endoscopic or minimally invasive approaches, we have to have prospective data to compare those things,” he said.
Dr. Zanation’s funding helped him enroll 50 patients in the pilot study, on 40 of whom his team has completed metric time points, and he said they are “pretty close” to analyzing the first subset of data. “We are hoping to apply for a larger project in the next year,” he said, adding that his ultimate goal is to identify the advantages and disadvantages of endoscopic, skull-based surgery.
CAREER SCIENTISTS DEVELOPMENT AWARD
Dr. Kim was awarded an NIH grant in 2008 for just under $680,000, but his Career Scientist Development Award was the perfect supplement to guarantee him the time to research how effective combinational immunotherapy can be in fighting cancer.
“Doing the experiments, even with the help of therapists and other foundation grants … that requires time,” he said. The Triological grant pays for “time I can dedicate to this research rather than seeing patients. That was instrumental.”