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Brain Tumor Institute (Neuro-Oncology Program)
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Brain Tumor Institute (Neuro-Oncology Program)


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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.

Individual Care

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:

  • Endocrinologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Psychologists
Under the leadership of Director Roger J. Packer, MD, Neurology Division Chief and Executive Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, and Clinical Director Brian R. Rood, MD, the program treats patients with the following conditions:
  • Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Ependymoma
  • Germ cell tumors, including mixed germ cell tumors
  • Gliomas, including brain stem, chiasmatic, low grade and optic nerve
  • Infantile brain tumor
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Pineoblastomas
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors/supratentorial
More information on brain tumors in children.

Innovative Care

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.

Family-Focused Care

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

Research and Clinical Trials

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, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, Collaborative Ependymoma Research Network (CERN), and Neurofibromatosis Consortium protocols.

Our access to research trials and protocols enables us to offer your child the most advanced therapies. Our team of Neuro-Oncologists including Dr. Packer, Dr. Rood, Dr. Kilburn, Dr. Hwang, Dr. Wells and Dr. Knipstein contributes its knowledge and experience to the development of therapeutic studies for childhood brain tumors. In partnership with laboratory investigators in the Children's Research Institute, the Brain Tumor Institute team supports investigations into brain development after treatment, the development of novel steroid analogues, the proteomics of medulloblastoma, the genomic and proteomic biology of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, and the development of nano-particle therapeutic delivery vehicles. In addition, the program is pioneering therapeutic advances in the treatment of childhood low-grade glioma by leading multi-institutional clinical trials.

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.
- Departments & Programs - Children's National Medical Center