Brain Tumor Institute (Neuro-oncology) Contact number | 202-476-2140

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Leaders in Treating Pediatric Brain Cancer

The Brain Tumor Institute's physicians are recognized as world leaders in pediatric neuro-oncology.

Meet the team

The Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National Health System is home to internationally recognized experts dedicated to providing a better quality of life for your child and all children with brain tumors.

Our commitment to research gives your child access to the latest, most effective treatments for brain tumors, and our multidisciplinary approach means your child’s care is informed by the best and brightest minds in the field.

A World Leader in Childhood Brain Tumor Care and Research

Brain tumors are abnormal growths that disrupt the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system. These tumors are especially challenging in children because their brains are still developing, putting them at risk for lifelong complications.

The Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National is a world leader in childhood brain tumor care and research. We are pioneering novel therapies, including new medications and less invasive techniques, which are saving children’s lives. And because you know your child best, we include you and your family in all treatment decisions. 

Highlights of our program include:

  • Expertise. We offer a depth of experience that few centers can match, including physicians who have dedicated their careers to treating children with brain tumors. Our highly skilled specialists have advanced training in diagnosing and treating brain tumors with the most effective, least invasive treatments possible.
  • Advanced treatments. We deliver brain tumor treatments that aggressively fight tumors while protecting your child from harmful side effects. We have exclusive access to Phase I clinical trials and can provide your child with new medications available in only a handful of centers. Find out more about Experimental Therapeutics for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
  • Safety. We are one of only a few programs across the country exploring the safety and effectiveness of brain tumor treatments. This work includes reducing radiation levels whenever possible.
  • Quality of life. Our child-centered approach includes neuropsychologists who continuously monitor the effects of treatment on your child’s cognitive development. Learn more about Neuropsychology at Children’s National.
  • Collaborative care. We are one of the few programs in the country where experts in neurology and neuro-oncology consult each other on all aspects of brain tumor care. Your child will benefit from specialists in both fields throughout their treatment experience, as well as additional subspecialists when necessary. This comprehensive approach ensures the best possible care for your child.

Pediatric Brain Tumor Research at Children’s National

At Children’s National, our researchers are pushing the scientific boundaries of pediatric brain tumor care, providing the latest, most promising diagnosis and treatment options to our patients. Our research has been recognized the world over and focuses on:

  • Medulloblastomas. The most harmful (malignant) childhood brain cancer
  • Gliomas. The most common type of brain tumor in children
  • Neurofibromatosis. Painful and debilitating disorders that cause tumors to grow along a child’s nerves
  • Treatment-related complications. Preventing and helping children recover from the harsh side effects of certain brain tumor treatments

We proudly participate in the world’s largest and most prestigious clinical trials networks, including:

We can discuss with you the possibility of enrolling your child in one of our clinical research programs. Physicians and dedicated research nurses will work with your family to help you understand the risks and benefits of participating. Learn more about our cancer research and clinical trials.

Our Team Approach to Pediatric Brain Tumor Care

To provide your child with the best possible care, we have assembled a team of pediatric experts, including neurologists and neuro-oncologists. During a single clinic visit your child meets with a broad range of specialists, which may include:

  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Rehabilitation Medicine

Together, these specialists meet regularly to create personalized treatment plans and provide advanced care to children with brain tumors. Read more about related departments.

Additionally, the Brain Tumor Institute is closely integrated with related programs at other regional hospitals and institutions, including:

  • Inova Fairfax Hospital
  • The National Institutes of Health (Pediatric Oncology and Radiation Oncology)
  • The University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville

Contact Us:

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

Debbie Lafond's Story

Debbie Lafond

Debbie Lafond began her career at Children’s National in 1991 as a clinical coordinator of the IV therapy team, and joined the department of Hematology/Oncology a year later as an advanced practice clinician.

Debbie Lafond's Story

Brain Tumor Institute Team

In This Section:

Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Children’s National ensures a precision diagnosis for each patient, thanks to our dedicated brain tumor pathologists and advanced imaging studies.


We design our health care with kids in mind, and deliver assurance when parents need it most.

Contact Information

Have a question about a specific disease or condition or treatments or services we offer?

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Program

There are more than 300 cases in the U.S. each year, but its relative rarity actually makes fighting DIPG more challenging. There is little federal research funding for the study of “rare pediatric” diseases, and many oncologists don’t have specialized experience with DIPG or its treatments.


We see children locally and globally who need the kind of specialized expertise and child-focused care we offer.

Meet the Team

Our providers represent medical and surgical specialties, family practice, and general pediatrics.

Related Care Services

Pediatric specialists work closely to ensure an integrated approach to care for each child and family.

Resources for Families

We offer resources for families to help answer questions and ease your child’s hospital experience.


We provide a wide range of clinical services, specialties and treatments dedicated to improving children’s health.