Brain Tumor Treatments

Children’s National is the only program in the Washington, DC, area treating all forms of pediatric brain cancer. From experimental medications to minimally invasive neurosurgery, we offer a broad range of innovative treatments. 

Children’s National Brain Tumor Institute: Pediatric Brain Tumor Treatments

Pediatric brain tumors are not the same as adult brain tumors. At a molecular level, they are quite different and require special care. At Children’s National, you can count on your child receiving the best available pediatric treatments, thanks to our team approach.

We hold meetings (tumor boards) on a regular basis to discuss complex cases. During these meetings, we discuss the unique aspects of your child’s condition. This approach helps us develop personalized treatment plans.

Our team also includes experts in neuropsychology. Through regular testing, we determine the effects of treatment on your child’s cognitive development, which helps us plan for his or her future needs. 

Brain Tumor Treatments at the Brain Tumor Institute

At Children’s National, we offer the full range of pediatric brain tumor therapies, including:


As one of the top rated neurosurgery programs, Children’s National treats children from across the country and all over the world. Our team includes the pioneer of modern day pediatric neurosurgery, Derek Bruce, MD.

We use minimally invasive procedures whenever possible. Special tools, such as intraoperative imaging, help us perform procedures with an extraordinary level of precision. We are one of few children’s hospitals where this is available.


Radiation uses special energy waves to fight cancer. What makes radiation therapy at Children’s National special are the extra steps we take to minimize your child’s risk for complications. We use the lowest possible radiation dose while still ensuring the most effective treatment.

At the cutting edge of pediatric radiation therapy, Children’s National, in collaboration with Sibley Memorial Hospital (Johns Hopkins Medicine), is building a dedicated proton beam therapy center. Proton beam therapy uses advanced technology to deliver treatments that are more precise. This allows us to access tumors in hard to reach areas while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. We anticipate the center opening in 2017.


Chemotherapy uses medications to interfere with cancer cell growth. Unfortunately, chemotherapy is not as effective for brain tumors as it is for other cancers. However, experts at Children’s National have been able to successfully use it for some conditions.

A member of our team developed a way to successfully treat neurofibromatosis and visual pathway gliomas using a specific combination of chemotherapy medications. This approach is now considered the standard of care around the world. Learn more about our Neurofibromatosis Institute.

Targeted therapies

To help children for whom traditional therapies are not successful, experts at Children's National are exploring promising new treatments through research and clinical trials.

These include:

  • Biologics: These medications are made from living things, such viruses and antibodies. We are one of few programs in the country evaluating the effectiveness of biologics for brain cancers, including plexiform neurofibromas.
  • Molecularly targeted drugs: These include medications designed to interfere with tumor cell reproduction at the molecular level. We are actively researching ways to increase the safety and effectiveness of these drugs.
  • Cellular therapy: This treatment customizes the body’s immune system to fight cancer and infection. We are one of few centers in the world offering a cellular therapy program for children.

Learn more about the promising new treatments available through our Experimental Therapeutics Program.

Contact Us

For more information or to make an appointment, call us at 202-476-2140 or meet the team.