Get to Know Dr. Rimas Lukas: Newest Member of the Neuro-Oncology Team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Medicine
Neurosciences June 16, 2017

Rimas Lukas, MD, recently joined Northwestern Medicine as the associate co-chief of the division of neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the associate co-chair of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

A Chicago native, Lukas has built his medical career in the Windy City. He received his medical degree at Rush University Medical Center, went on to his internship at Cook County Hospital/John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and completed his residency and fellowship at the University of Chicago Medical Center where he was the director of medical neuro-oncology before transitioning to Northwestern Memorial.

I sat down with Lukas to learn more about his background and find out what he’s most passionate about in this a new step in his career.

Why did you decide to become a neuro-oncologist?
I didn’t grow up always knowing I wanted to be a doctor or have a doctor in my family that I looked up to. However, I always loved being challenged and learning about the biological systems and nervous systems in school. There was something about the combination of the science and art of medicine that really drew me to the field.

The art and science of medicine drew you to wanting to be a doctor. Can you elaborate?
Well, studying I’ve found that science has enough fuzziness around the edges, where we still have an incomplete understanding, allowing for creativity from both a research and patient care perspective.

Can you tell me about how you’ve gotten involved with teaching future physicians?
I’ve always been passionate about neuro-oncology and neuroscience education. In my prior job, I directed the neurology section of the clinical pathophysiology and therapeutics (CPPT) course for second year medical students as well as co-director of the 3rd year neurology clerkship for medical students. I was also a part of the clinical curriculum committee helping plan and shape the medical classes for neuroscience students at the institution. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to travel regularly to mainland China as a component of multi-year medical school wide curriculum reform collaborative project with Wuhan University.

Besides teaching and shaping the next generation of physicians, what else are you most proud of?
I’ve enjoyed developing and conducting scholarly projects evaluating various aspects of clinical neuroscience education. My hope is that this work helps shed light on how to optimize clinical neuroscience education.

Let’s switch gears a little and talk about clinical trials that you are involved in. Any trials that you are most proud of?
Currently, I’m excited about working on a number of trials utilizing a range of therapeutic modalities for the treatment of central nervous system tumors. Recently, I completed work on a phase 1 clinical trial for a PDL1 antibody in glioblastoma as well as an analysis of this same antibody in patients with non-small cell lung cancer brain metastases.

To learn more about clinical trials at Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute, please click here.

What are you most passionate about in your field?
I’m passionate about taking care of patients by providing the most innovative and successful treatments for brain tumors. I really want to move the needle for brain cancer treatment and provide a better quality of life for patients dealing with this horrific disease. Most importantly, it’s great to be a part of a team here that is without a doubt the most collaborative, multidisciplinary team of bright and creative minds trying to find the next novel therapy which may revolutionize the management of central nervous system tumors.

Speaking of patients. What kind of patients do you see?
I’m actively involved in treating patients with primary and metastatic central nervous system tumors. This includes patients diagnosed with high-grade gliomas and brain metastases.

In a few words, what kind of physician are you?
I hope that I am thorough in my explanations, rational in my decision making and aggressive in my therapeutic recommendations. I’m also really excited to be joining this extraordinary team.

Dr. Lukas is currently accepting new patients. To make an appointment call 855.695.NBTI (6284) or click here.