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Sandeep M. Kunwar, MD

About Dr. Kunwar

Neurosurgeon Co-medical Director, Gamma Knife Program

Dr KunwarDiscover more about the work of Dr. Kunwar and the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery in this Bay Area Healthier Together feature.

Board certified in neurosurgery and renowned for his work in minimally invasive neurosurgery, Dr. Kunwar played an instrumental role in the evolution of the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute where he now serves as medical director for three of the Institute’s programs: co-medical director of the Gamma Knife® Program, medical director of the Endoscopic Skull Base and Pituitary Center and co-medical director of the Movement Disorders Program.

In addition to his focus on Gamma Knife radiosurgery, Dr. Kunwar specializes in minimally invasive brain and spine surgery. His innovative work in these fields and pioneering research in drug delivery to the brain have brought him national and international recognition. He has performed more than 2,500 minimally invasive operations, and has developed a minimally-invasive approach to skull-based tumors and improved access to the spine.

Dr. Kunwar is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha medical society and is a recipient of the Preuss Resident Research Award and the Ronald Bittner Tumor Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He has served as the lead principal investigator for a number of international multi-institutional clinical trials, including the largest surgical based drug trial for brain tumors (PRECISE trial).

In 2006, Dr. Kunwar began his private practice in Fremont, California after 7 years successful practice at UCSF. He joined the medical community at Washington Hospital Healthcare System. He also continues to serve as an Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery on the faculty at UCSF. At UCSF, he developed one of the busiest surgical programs in San Francisco and was selected by world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles Wilson, to take over his pituitary surgery practice after his retirement. Dr. Kunwar received his medical degree and neurosurgical training at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

Dr. Kunwar's clinical interests include adult brain and spinal cord tumors, minimally invasive spinal surgery, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery for metastatic and primary brain tumors, and the treatment of pituitary adenomas by the endonasal approaches. He has one of the largest pituitary surgical services in the world.

Dr. Kunwar's research includes the development and institution of novel surgical-based therapies for the treatment of malignant gliomas. These strategies utilize tumor-targeted cytocidal proteins delivered through direct intracerebral microinfusion (convection-enhanced delivery), which bypasses the blood-brain barrier. Initial results indicate this to be a safe and effective method for drug delivery with some initial promising results. In the laboratory, in conjunction with Krys Bankiweicz PhD, he is exploring the delivery of other antitumor agents including immunoliposomes (with Dr. John Park) and viral particles into the brain. Studies in rodents and nonhuman primate models are underway in the hope of expanding the ability to selectively target tumor cells and deliver antitumor agents to regions of normal brain infiltrated with tumor.

In 1999, Dr. Kunwar joined the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the university of San Francisco developing a very busy clinical and research program in one of the best Neurosurgery departments in the United States.

He also works to improve the use of technology to perform standard procedures through less invasive approaches. He teaches other Neurosurgeons these advanced technologies. He also presents at national and international medical conferences on a region basis.

  • Medical School
  • Postdoctoral Education University of California Dean's Office
  • University of California School of Medicine
    San Francisco, CA