Scientist motivated by saving lives 

Longtime San Francisco resident and UCSF neuro-oncologist Anuradha Banerjee is one of the leading scientists studying brain tumors in children.

Why did you decide to get into pediatric neuro-oncology? Well, we get to save people’s lives. Obviously we can’t do that for everyone, but when I was a young doctor in pediatrics, that was the appeal, to really be able to get to know your patient and get to provide something so compelling. It just had a visceral appeal to me.

What do you like most about it? I really, really like that it is a team effort; it’s not just one person doing it. You have to forge relationships, and half the team is the patient and their family. 

I understand you often follow your patients into adulthood. Why do you do that? So much of being able to take care of patients ... is the relationship between us, and whether the team is able to successfully nurture them. So, mostly I follow them because we have a relationship that neither one of us wants to give up.

How is treating a child with a brain tumor different than treating an adult? With children, there’s a transparency to them that’s very appealing to me. It’s fairly straightforward to understand what they’re thinking, at least at the younger ages.

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