Brain Tumors in Children

Our team of experienced children’s cancer professionals is nationally-ranked for pediatric cancer care. We are actively involved in research to further understand brain tumors in children and are proud to be at the forefront of advanced personalized medicine, with national collaborations moving this research forward. We offer a multidisciplinary, weekly pediatric brain tumor conference, which includes pediatric oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and other pediatric medical specialists. Together, we can help your child get through treatment with as few side effects as possible. This makes us uniquely positioned to provide hope and support for children with brain tumors such as gliomas and medulloblastomas. 

In addition to the expertise of our team here, our pediatric oncology research program leads the Beat Childhood Cancer consortium, which includes 33 hospitals across the United States. Within the consortium, we enrolled 203 children in our pediatric cancer clinical trials in 2017. These trials are based on the research from collaborating investigators who are linked with laboratory programs developing novel therapies and technologies. This means we can offer your child and family leading-edge treatments for his or her specific genetic analysis that are showing the most encouraging results.

Brain tumors are the second most common form of childhood cancer. Medulloblastoma is a type of brain tumor. Gliomas are tumors that occur in the brain and spinal cord. A brain tumor begins when healthy cells in the brain change and grow out of control, forming a mass. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not spread. Symptoms depend on a child's age and the location of the tumor, but may include headache, vomiting, slurred speech, vision changes, seizures and balance problems.

Your Child's Care Begins Here

Just as every child is different, so is every tumor. We collect both tumor and normal cells from each patient and our pediatric oncology research laboratory does deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing to determine the genomic makeup of the cancer, identifying mutations and pathways activating the tumor. These tumor cells are tested against an extensive panel to identify the most sensitive medication for each child's cancer. Our pediatric oncologists use the clinical genomic analysis to create a personalized treatment plan. 

Our pediatric neurosurgeons collaborate closely with oncologists on treatment, which usually begins with a neurosurgical procedure. In order to provide guidance during surgery and work towards the best possible treatment results, our pediatric neurosurgeons use state-of-the-art techniques and tools like:

  • Minimally invasive approaches
  • Neuro-navigation, which is computer-assisted technology to guide the surgeon 
  • Intraoperative MRI to check if all of the tumor has been removed during surgery
  • Intraoperative neuromonitoring for real-time feedback of the function of nerves, brain and spinal cord

Advances in radiation therapy and multi-agent chemotherapy are also contributing to better outcomes than in the past.

We offer a multidisciplinary, weekly brain tumor conference, dedicated to improving the lives of children with brain tumors. Our brain tumor team includes pediatric oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and other pediatric medical specialists. Together, we can help your child get through treatment with as few side effects as possible.

Treatments We Provide

Chemotherapy refers to strong drug combinations to destroy cancer cells, with positive results in many children with brain tumors. Chemo can also be used to delay or eliminate the need for radiation treatment.

Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy X-rays to destroy rapidly multiplying cancer cells. It is very effective in treating many types of brain tumors.

Precision Neurosurgery
The newest surgical techniques use special devices to target tumors through 3D images of the brain. Intraoperative MRI is a powerful tool our neurosurgeons use in the removal of many types of brain tumors.

Children's Clinical Trials
We offer a number of national and international Phase I, II and II clinical research trials through our collaborations with HeadStart, Children’s Oncology Group, Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium and our Haworth Innovative Therapeutics Clinic.