New York University neurosurgeon and researcher, Dr. Nader Delavari, is dedicating his research project, “Enzymatic Modification of the Consistency of Firm Tumors may Facilitate their Safe Resection” to Meningioma Mommas member, Debbie Arnold Burnett, who lost her 21-year-meningioma battle on June 22, 2020.

Debbie joined Meningioma Mommas in 2003 and freely shared her battle to treat her recurring meningioma with over 6,000 members also living with a meningioma.

Her family shares the following statement:

“Debbie’s first surgery at the Cleveland Clinic was in 1999. The next 20 years brought two Gamma Knife surgeries, IMRT treatment, two clinical trials, and three more surgeries. The last two where performed by Dr. Ossama Al-Mefty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Her persistence in the ongoing search for a successful treatment and cure should serve as an inspiration to us all. She never let it get her hopes down. She was positive about life even close to the end.”

Delavari’s recently awarded $5,500 grant will enable him to develop a pre-surgical treatment for meningiomas. He says meningiomas are a frustrating tumor. “Meningiomas are vexing because when you can fully see them during surgery, you want to remove every single cell yet don’t want to risk harming the patient if they are attached to critical structures.”

In his proposed pilot study, Delavari aims to test key questions that may drive further development of strategies to soften fibrous meningiomas. These questions will guide further research that focus on delivery of the enzyme during tumor embolization.


“The firm consistency of fibrous meningiomas can limit their safe resection when they are near critical neurovascular structures. Dissection of fibrous tumors from neurovascular structures may result in injury to cranial nerves, the brainstem, and cerebral blood vessels. The subtotal resection of meningiomas is associated with a recurrence rate of roughly 39% in ten years. Adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery may reduce the risk of recurrence, but long-term disease control remains particularly challenging in young individuals. Preoperative embolization has been observed to result in tumor necrosis and softening and improved rates of total resection. However, this observation is controversial and preoperative embolization is not universally considered to be effective. New approaches to safely remove tumor without risk of injury to critical structures would improve long-term disease free survival.”