What’s New in Pediatric Brain Tumor Treatment?

As one of the most difficult cancers to treat, childhood brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children under age 10. However, researchers are making more progress than ever before.

“Over the last 10 years there has been a lot of excitement about new treatments for pediatric brain tumors,” says Peter Manley, MD, a pediatric neuro-oncologist with Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and director of the Stop & Shop Family Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic. “We’re looking at brain tumors on a molecular level to find potential targeted therapies that can not only treat the cancer, but also minimize long-term side effects.”

Mark Kieran, MD, PhD

Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, focuses on pediatric brain tumor patients in the clinic and the lab

Manley recently joined Mark Kieran, MD, PhD, clinical director of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, for a live webchat on the latest treatments and research for pediatric brain tumors. Manley and Kieran discussed precision medicine, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy, as well as new information about the long-term survival of patients and ways to reduce treatment side effects.

“The treatment of brain tumors is incredibly complex and, perhaps more than any other disease we deal with, takes a team effort to take care of the patient,” says Kieran. “The goal isn’t to have just one person treat a child, it’s about having several people all putting together their expertise to care for the patient.”

Watch the webchat with Manley and Kieran below:

Learn more from Kieran about Dana-Farber’s advances in treating rare pediatric brain tumors, including atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG).

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3 thoughts on “What’s New in Pediatric Brain Tumor Treatment?

  1. esearchers continue to look for the gene changes inside cells that result in brain and spinal cord tumors. The hope is that learning more about these gene changes may lead to better ways to treat these tumors.

    Impressive information thanks, researchers continue to look for the gene changes inside cells that result in brain and spinal cord tumors. The hope is that learning more about these gene changes may lead to better ways to treat these tumors.
    For example, researchers have found that medulloblastomas can be divided into 4 main types, based on the different gene changes in the tumor cells. Some of these tumor types have a better outlook than others. Doctors are now learning how to use this information to help decide which children might need more or less intensive treatment.

  2. My son had an ependymoma resected in 2/1993 followed by 6 weeks of radiation. What information has been found about this type of tumor since then? What long term toxicities should I be aware of at this point?

  3. My son had an ependymoma resected in 2/1993 followed by 6 weeks of radiation. What information has been found about this type of tumor since then? What long term toxicities should I be aware of at this point?

    1. Dear Robyn – Our Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Outcomes Clinic at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s helps individuals who were treated for pediatric brain or spinal cord tumors manage the long-term effects of their tumor and its treatment. Unfortunately we cannot provide specific medical advice through this blog or email, but you can learn more about the clinic and make an appointment to discuss your son’s treatment here: http://www.danafarberbostonchildrens.org/centers-and-programs/brain-tumor-center/survivorship.aspx. We wish you and your son the best.

  4. esearchers continue to look for the gene changes inside cells that result in brain and spinal cord tumors. The hope is that learning more about these gene changes may lead to better ways to treat these tumors.

    Impressive information thanks, researchers continue to look for the gene changes inside cells that result in brain and spinal cord tumors. The hope is that learning more about these gene changes may lead to better ways to treat these tumors.
    For example, researchers have found that medulloblastomas can be divided into 4 main types, based on the different gene changes in the tumor cells. Some of these tumor types have a better outlook than others. Doctors are now learning how to use this information to help decide which children might need more or less intensive treatment.

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