Cancer and Blood Disorders

For more than 65 years, Boston Children's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have partnered to provide comprehensive care for childhood cancers and blood disorders, including brain tumors, leukemia, and lymphoma. Working together, we provide more specialists and clinical programs than almost any other pediatric hospital in the world. Our combined center - which has been named the best pediatric cancer program in the United States by U.S. News & World Report - is led by some of the world's top oncologists and hematologists and offers an extraordinary array of advanced treatments.

Our physicians and surgeons are internationally recognized for their expertise in bone marrow (stem cell) transplants, immunotherapy and gene therapy, neurosurgery, tumor removal, limb-salvage surgery for bone tumors, MIBG therapy for neuroblastoma, and more. Even though we serve as a leading destination for serious and complex cases from around the world, our center achieves patient survival rates that meet or exceed the national average for every type of pediatric cancer. We give your child the best odds of surviving and thriving for years to come.

We understand that childhood cancers and blood disorders affect the whole family, not just the patient. That's why we involve parents and siblings at every stage of a child's care and provide comprehensive support -- both emotional and logistical -- to ensure that your family stays calm, comfortable, and focused on helping your child get well. We do everything we can to make your experience as stress-free as possible.

Conditions We Treat

The Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center provides care to more than 5,000 patients each year. Our specialized clinical departments treat the full range of cancers and blood disorders in children, including:

  • Brain tumors. Low-grade and high-grade gliomas, diffuse pontine gliomas, atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (AT/RT), medulloblastomas, germ cell tumors.
  • Bone and organ cancers. Osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, kidney tumors, liver tumors, soft-tissue sarcomas, retinoblastoma, rare tumors.
  • Blood cancers. Leukemia, lymphoma (including Hodgkin's lymphoma), histiocytosis.
  • Non-malignant blood disorders. Anemia, hemophilia, myelodysplastic syndrome, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, bone marrow failure syndromes, white blood cell disorders (including neutropenia).

Our Approach

By combining a top children's hospital and world-renowned cancer institute, we offer an unrivaled breadth of expertise. Our interdisciplinary teams include not only oncologists and hematologists but also specialists such as surgeons, pathologists, and imaging experts, ensuring that we can respond quickly and effectively to your child's needs. We also work closely with your child's physicians in your home country.

While we're known for our science-driven approach, our doctors never forget that your child is a child -- not just a patient. From the moment of diagnosis through long-term follow-up, we provide innovative and compassionate care dedicated to your child and family's overall well-being. We even offer specialized cancer survivorship programs that provide all the support services children need to thrive as they transition back to school, work, and play.

Research and Innovation

We have a long history of pioneering new treatments for pediatric cancer and blood disorders. Many innovations that were developed at our center have since been adopted by hospitals around the globe, and we continue to lead the way in several important areas, including:

  • Precision medicine. We host one of the nation's most comprehensive precision medicine initiatives (known as Profile). Researchers are currently analyzing hundreds of mutations in more than 300 genes for all types of cancer, in order to detect genetic alterations that could be used to create targeted therapies for individual patients.
  • Stem cell transplants. Our surgeons perform more than 90 transplants each year for children with cancer, bone marrow failure, aplastic anemia, and other blood disorders and immune deficiencies.
  • Gene therapy. These treatments deliver DNA into a patient's cells to replace faulty or missing genes, in an effort to boost the body's ability to fight cancer and other diseases.
  • Immunotherapy and vaccine therapy. Our specialists are using man-made antibodies, modified white blood cells, and other substances to stimulate the body's immune system into fighting blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

For children with hard-to-treat or relapsed cancers or blood disorders, we provide access to clinical trials for innovative treatments (like those above) that offer the potential of better outcomes and shorter recovery times. More than 100 clinical trials are active at any given time.

Patient Stories

A Bone Marrow Transplant - Times Two. Twin girls in Colombia with a rare genetic syndrome travel to Boston with their parents for a bone marrow transplant -- and the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial for an experimental process that seeks to make transplants safer and more effective. Read more >>

Mexican Teen Battles Metastatic Liver Cancer. Three years ago, Manuel Sanchez Paniagua was diagnosed with an aggressive liver cancer that would end up spreading to other areas of his body, including his brain. Manuel left his home in Mexico City to battle this rare metastatic cancer at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's. Read more >>