Research and Innovation

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Diagnosis & Treatment

Our Pediatric Brain Tumor Program offers comprehensive care services that include:

  • quick and accurate diagnosis from our dedicated pediatric neuropathologist

  • access to advanced technologies like the intraoperative MRI, which allows our neurosurgeons to simultaneously perform surgery and obtain detailed images to ensure maximum tumor removal without the need for multiple surgeries

  • advanced pediatric radiation oncology services, including targeted radiosurgery and low-dose radiation therapy, that minimize a child’s exposure to radiation

  • access to New England’s only dedicated pediatric Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan as well as to PET fusion imaging, which provides precise anatomical and functional images to help guide our treatment decisions

  • chemotherapy delivery techniques that minimize hospital admissions, including outpatient and oral chemotherapy and direct delivery into the tumor site

Research & clinical trials

Our program offers unique access to a range of clinical trials in which your child can receive the newest brain tumor treatments. Through this research, our physicians work to improve current therapeutic approaches and outcomes for many hard-to-treat pediatric brain tumors.

Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Hospital Cancer Center is the only center in New England that offers Phase I Boston Children's Oncology Group clinical trials. We are also a member of the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutic Investigators Consortium and the Department of Defense Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium.

In addition, we are consistently one of the most highly funded pediatric brain tumor research centers in the United States, and rapidly translating scientific discoveries to the bedside is a major focus of the program. Members of our brain tumor team:

  • played a key role in the identification and application of antiangiogenic treatments for pediatric brain tumors

  • launched new studies investigating gene profiling of patients’ tumors and the development of personalized treatment approaches

  • pioneered the development of new treatments for specific highly malignant tumors such as AT/RT (Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor)

  • development of new targeted therapies for diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas

  • creation of the only pediatric low-grade astrocytoma program

  • molecular profiling of pediatric brain tumors for any patient

  • are developing tissue registries to better classify and treat certain types of brain tumors

Survivorship clinic

Both the tumors and their treatments have potential for long-term side effects and complications, including learning disabilities, emotional challenges, personality changes and movement and sensory deficits. After treatment is complete, we offer fully coordinated follow-up care through the Stop & Shop Family Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic to help families and patients find resources to cope with any side effects of treatment.

Clinical Trials

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Clinical trials are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of new interventions. There are different types of cancer clinical trials, such as prevention trials, early detection trials, and treatment trials. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Program participates in several multi-center national clinical trials. For more information please visit one of the following pages:

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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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