Columbia Researcher is Advancing Novel Drug Delivery Methods for Inoperable Brain Tumors

March 8, 2019

Stergios Zacharoulis, MD, an internationally known pediatric neuro-oncologist specializing in brain spine and neural malignancies of childhood, joined the Columbia faculty in 2018. Dr. Zacharoulis is researching new ways to deliver drugs to inoperable pediatric brain tumors including chronic infusion of medicines directly into the tumor through catheters implanted under the skin (convection enhanced delivery) in collaboration with Columbia’s neurosurgical team. He is also studying the use of non-invasive methods to disrupt the blood brain barrier using focused ultrasound, in collaboration with the Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Engineering departments at Columbia. Both approaches would enable oncologists to deliver higher concentrations of drugs into the brain while minimizing their side effects.

In collaboration with members of Columbia’s System Biology Department, Dr. Zacharoulis is leading a global effort to identify new targets for fatal tumors such as diffuse midline glioma and ependymoma. And with our Neuropathology Department he is evaluating novel technologies to predict response to treatment and allow personalized approaches in a timely fashion based on very rapid drug and molecular screening.

Dr. Zacharoulis is board certified in both pediatrics (with training at Yale and SUNY-Syracuse) and pediatric oncology (with training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center). He sub-specialized further in neuro-oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital. After serving as an assistant professor of pediatric oncology at the Keck School Of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, he was lead pediatric neuro-oncologist at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust and The Harley Street Clinic in London, UK for a decade, where he established the single European program performing convection enhanced delivery for children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. 

Dr. Zacharoulis can be contacted at