Research & Innovation
Children’s Hospital Boston is home to the world’s largest Vascular Anomalies Center (VAC). When doctors anywhere in the world have questions about a child’s birthmark and how to treat it, they often call us.
- We have seen kids with epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE), so our doctors have experience with this rare condition—which means that your child will get multiple specialists confirming the diagnosis and crafting the best treatment plan for your child.
The VAC is a team of 25 physicians—representing 16 medical and surgical specialties—who are experts in the field of vascular anomalies.
Our team collaborates in the evaluation and management of kids with EHE and other rare vascular conditions.
- This team approach ensures that your child’s treatment plan — if treatment is necessary — is carefully developed and coordinated with the expertise of our specialists in vascular anomalies and in other medical areas throughout the hospital.
We’re also the worldwide referral center for kids who have these kinds of vascular conditions.
- Our team of physicians meets each week to review medical histories, photographs and radiographic images and pathology slides of kids who may have conditions like EHE.
- The large volume of kids seen and reviewed each year contributes to our team's expertise and familiarity with the latest treatment options for children with these kinds of conditions.
Anti-angiogenic therapy shrinks tumors
As we explain in the Treatment & Care section, interferon and rapamycin therapy use an angiogenic inhibitor to slow the growth of new blood vessels and cut off blood supply to your child’s tumor.
The whole idea that tumors are unable to grow beyond a certain size without a dedicated supply of blood was conceived by Judah Folkman, MD, former director of the Vascular Biology Program at Children’s.
- These days, angiogenesis inhibitors and stimulators are powerful new weapons in the battle against tumors like EHE as well as a host of other illnesses.
Angiogenesis inhibitor therapy works on Folkman's principle that, rather than waging a toxic chemical and radiation battle with a tumor, doctors could starve it into submission by shutting down its blood supply.
- Today, at least 50 angiogenesis inhibitors are in clinical trials around the world, and more than 1,000 laboratories in universities and industry are conducting angiogenesis research.
Read more about Folkman’s pioneering research and its application to your child’s treatment for EHE.
New treatments, better outcomes
Sometimes it’s tough to determine the best treatment for EHE because it has such a wide spectrum of behavior. In some kids, the tumor goes away without treatment. In others, it grows, appears in other parts of the body—and it can even be fatal.
Understanding which types of therapy work for which kids will help us treat more children more effectively. With that in mind, researchers and physicians at Children’s are reviewing hundreds of cases of kids with EHE and compiling that information into a comprehensive database. We are doing this by reviewing every EHE case referred here, partnering with other vascular anomalies centers and contacting families and their doctors to learn about best therapies and outcomes for patients with EHE.
Additionally, we are always developing clinical trials for patients with rare vascular anomalies, including EHE. Please ask us about our current clinical research on EHE.
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