Research Profile: Nurhan Torun, MD, FRCSC

About Dr. Nurhan Torun

Nurhan Torun, MD, FRCSCNurhan Torun, MD, FRCSC

Chief of Ophthalmology, BIDMC
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Research Group

Marc A. Bouffard, MD
Konstantinos Douglas, MD, DVM, MBA
Vivian Paraskevi Douglas, MD, DVM, MBA
Edsel Ing, MD

Research Focus

Dr. Nurhan Torun's research in 2020 focused on oculomotor nerve schwannomas (ONS) originating from proliferating nerve sheath cells. These are rare, benign CNS tumors, with a limited number of reports (fewer than 100 cases) in the literature. Unfortunately, very few physicians have sufficient experience in treating non-vestibular schwannomas. The fact that their symptomatology can vary widely, depending on location and size of the lesion, poses an additional challenge. Given the rarity of such non-vestibular, intracranial schwannomas, many physicians may not even consider these lesions when patients present with diplopia. Management options include surgical excision, stereotactically delivered radiation therapy, and symptomatic treatment (strabismus surgery or prisms). There is currently no established management guideline that aids providers in deciding on surgical versus non-surgical management. Therefore, Dr. Torun and her research group set out to review the literature on the topic to identify indications for treatment as well as outcome measures (e.g., local control rates and survival rates as well as complication rates) that have been reported as associated with the various treatment modalities. The group's collaboration with Tufts Medical Center also yielded four previously unreported cases of ONS that were included in this study. The cohort was divided into one group that had been managed with open microsurgery and a second group that was managed without surgical intervention but with stereotactically delivered radiation therapy (SRS). The data analysis is underway. The goal of Dr. Torun's research group is to develop an algorithm for evaluation and treatment of ONS in order to establish consensus on how these tumors should be treated.