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Brain Tumor Institute (Neuro-oncology)

Contact number | 202-476-3643
child and doctor smiling

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 Hospital is home to internationally recognized experts dedicated to providing your child with a better quality of life after a brain tumor diagnosis.

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

Our program, led by Roger Packer, M.D., Robert Keating, M.D., Brian Rood, M.D., Lindsay Kilburn, M.D. and Eugene Hwang, M.D., is comprised of neurosurgeons, oncologists, neurologists and radiation oncologists aided by experts in neuroendocrinology, neuroradiology, neuropsychology and neuropathology. This means that your child will receive comprehensive care from a multidisciplinary team that consist of the best and brightest minds in the field.

A World Leader in Childhood Brain Tumor Care and Research

The Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National is a world leader in childhood brain tumor care and research. We are pioneering novel therapies developed at Children's National, including new molecularly-targeted therapies, vaccines, T-cell immunotherapies and less invasive techniques. Our commitment to research gives your child access to the latest, most effective treatments for brain tumors, saves lives and improves outcomes. In addition, we include 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. Our skilled pediatric neurosurgeons utilize the finest equipment including and a dedicated intraoperative MRI and state-of-the-art navigation devices to allow safer, less invasive surgery. Meet the team
  • Advanced treatments. We deliver brain tumor treatments that aggressively fight tumors while protecting your child from harmful side effects. Our program offers the newest in molecular diagnostics and we are one of few centers that offers pediatric proton therapy through our collaborative Radiation Oncology Program. In addition, we have exclusive access to Phase I clinical trials and can provide your child with new medications available in only a handful of centers. We are pioneering new immunotherapeutic approaches, including brain derived vaccines and T-cell therapies. 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 psychologists, neuropsychologists and child care specialists 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. Children 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 around the world and focuses on:

  • Ependymomas
  • High-grade and low-grade gliomas (including DIPGs). The most common type of brain tumor in children
  • Infant malignant brain tumors
  • Medulloblastomas and other embryonal tumors. The most harmful (malignant) childhood brain cancer
  • Neurofibromatosis. Painful and debilitating disorders that cause tumors to grow along a child’s nerves
  • Novel therapies and immunotherapies
  • Treatment-related complications. Preventing and helping children recover from the harsh side effects of certain brain tumor treatments

Children’s National’s brain tumor clinical research is worldwide and we proudly serve as members of the world’s largest and most prestigious clinical trials networks, including:

Learn more about our brain tumor research and cancer 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 specialists from various departments, including:

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

Contact Us

For more information about the Brain Tumor Institute, please call 202-476-3643. For urgent assistance outside of business hours, please call 202-476-5000.

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