Honoring The World’s #1 African American Nerosurgeon
Dr. Keith Black, Head of the Neurosurgery Department at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, speacks during a launch party for his book “Brain Surgeon” on Aprill 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dr. Keith Black
(April 29, 2009
- Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)
I Salute Dr. Keith Black the Worlds Number 1 African American Nerosurgeon
Dr. Keith Black is one of the world top African American Neurosurgeon in the world. Dr. Black, a renowned neurosurgeon, recently released his new book, Brain Surgeon: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles. Keith Black, MD serves as Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. At age 17, he published his first scientific paper, which earned a Westinghouse Science Award. He completed an accelerated college program at the University of Michigan and earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees in six years. Before joining Cedars-Sinai, Black served on the UCLA faculty for 10 years where he was a professor of neurosurgery and was named the Ruth and Raymond Stotter chair in the Department of Surgery and was head of the UCLA Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program.
Dr. Black is best known for his discovery that bradykinin, a peptide occurring naturally in the body, was highly effective in opening the blood-brain barrier by causing capillary walls to be leaky. The blood-brain barrier is a protective network of blood vessels which impedes the progress of medication moving from the blood stream to brain tissue. He initially investigated other natural body compounds—leukotrienes—that induce swelling after injury and also make blood vessels leaky. However, Dr. Black explains that “the fantastic thing about bradykinin is that it does not open the barrier to the normal brain—only to tumors”. Therefore, chemotherapy can now deal with the tumor itself without damaging delicate brain tissue. A synthetic version of bradykinin can then be delivered directly to the tumor.
Another innovative method based on Dr. Black’s research is geared towards strengthening the body’s own immune response. The method involves extracting the tumor cells during surgery; culturing the cells in the laboratory; genetically modifying the culture cells; and injecting the genetically engineered product into the patient as a vaccine. Dr. Black explains: “In order for the cancer to survive one of the things it has to do is make itself invisible to the immune system, the first step is to get the immune system to recognize the tumor.” After the tumor cells are removed, genetically engineered and re-injected into the patient, “the immune system can now recognize the tumor, identify it, and mount an immune response against it, and develop millions of immune cells to go out throughout the body, find these cancer cells and eradicate them.”
Art is a discipline that is practiced with passion and science is a passion that is practiced with discipline.