Dr. Keith L. Black is a pioneering neurosurgeon who specializes in the treatment of brain tumors, introducing a pair of innovative techniques that advanced the field. Dr. Black was born September 13, 1957 in Tuskegee, Ala.
At eight years old, Black’s father, a high school principal, fostered his son’s interest in science by allowing him to operate on a cow’s heart. At 13, with the family now living in Cleveland, Ohio, Black performed heart valve transplants on animals inside the labs of Case Western Reserve University. By the time he reached high school, Black had already written a scientific research paper on the effects of heart valve transplants on red blood cells.
Black was accepted into an accelerated program at the University of Michigan, earning his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in six years. In 1987, Black moved out west to head the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at the UCLA Medical Center. Chief among his work is the discovery of bradykinin, a peptide made naturally by the body that helps reduce tumors. Black also introduced a technique that extracted tumor cells and injected back into the patient as a natural vaccine.
In 2007, at this time serving as the director of neurosurgery at the Ciders-Sinai Medical Center, Black established a brain tumor research facility in honor of his friend and patient, attorney Johnnie L. Cochran. At his busiest, Black performs between 250 and 300 surgeries per year.
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