Dr. Ashwin Viswanathan, associate professor of neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine, has been awarded a Research Project Grant (R01) of more than $2 million by the National Institutes of Health.   

Viswanathan’s research will focus on the efficacy of cordotomy, a highly specialized surgical procedure for the treatment of advanced cancer pain. It will also build on his work funded by the American Cancer Society to study surgical pain interventions.

“At the end of life, being free from pain is one of the top wishes for patients with cancer,” said Viswanathan. “Though many patients find relief with pain medications, there are still patients with persistent, severe pain who need better treatment alternatives.”

Cordotomy is a precise means to interrupt the main spinal cord pain pathway, the spinothalamic tract. Viswanathan and his collaborators will conduct a randomized, placebo-controlled, trial to determine the effectiveness of this procedure. 

“In preliminary studies we found this minimally invasive neurosurgical procedure to have promising results,” Viswanathan said. “We are hopeful this study will increase treatment options for patients suffering from pain.”

The five year study will take place at Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor affiliated hospitals including Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Patient recruitment will begin in the coming months. For more information please contact 713.798.4696.