Brain Tumor Institute (Neuro-Oncology Program)
The Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National Medical Center evaluates one out of every ten children with a brain tumor in the United States -- more than 100 new patients every year. We provide continuing care for hundreds of others. Our multidisciplinary team of experts in neurology and oncology are regularly consulted to provide second opinions for patients from the United States and around the world.
The institute is one of only a few programs boldly trying to eliminate radiation, especially in infants. By finding alternative treatments with fewer long-term effects, the team aspires to increase patients’ quality of life.
The program ensures that your child sees both a neurologist and an oncologist on every visit, and benefits from the expertise of Children’s related specialists:
Under the leadership of Director Roger J. Packer, MD
, Neurology Division Chief and Executive Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine
, the program treats patients with the following conditions:
- Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors
- Germ cell tumors, including mixed germ cell tumors
- Gliomas, including brain stem, chiasmatic, low grade and optic nerve
- Infantile brain tumor
- Primitive neuroectodermal tumors/supratentorial
The Brain Tumor Institute boasts one of the most active clinical research programs in the United States to achieve this objective.
Children's neurosurgeons, including Robert F. Keating, MD, and John Myseros, MD, are leaders in the use of image-guided surgery and intra-operative MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to safely treat brain tumors in young patients.
Our neurosurgery specialists have an impressive record of procedures without complications — one of the lowest rates (less than 5 percent) of temporary speech loss (posterior fossa mutism syndrome), one of the lowest shunt infection incidence rates.
We recognize that when your child is ill, it affects the entire family. Children’s emphasis on family-focused care is realized through a comprehensive Patient and Family Support Program. The program, among other services, provides mental and psychosocial assistance and other resources to help families cope with the difficulties of their child’s condition.
The Brain Tumor Institute also hosts multidisciplinary neuro-oncology clinics for patients and families at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC (weekly), and at Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders of Northern Virginia, in Fairfax (monthly).
The Institute is closely integrated with related programs at other regional hospitals and institutions, including:
- The National Institutes of Health (Pediatric Oncology and Radiation Oncology branches)
- The University of Virginia, Charlottesville
- Inova Fairfax Hospital
- Departments & Programs - Children's National Medical Center
We are the only center in the Washington, DC, area and one of only a handful in the country with access to Children’s Oncology Group Phase I trials, and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and Neurofibramatosis Consortium protocols.
Our access to research trials and protocols enables us to offer your child the most advanced therapies. Dr. Packer contributes his knowledge and experience to inform ongoing studies concerning brain development after treatment, and leads several investigations on childhood brain tumors, including studies on medulloblastoma, childhood low-grade gliomas, and rare forms of childhood brain tumors.
To learn more about enrolling your child in a current study, speak with your child’s primary care physician or a member of the care team.