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Pediatric Brain Tumor Program

Dr. Sandberg and Dr. KhatuaPediatric brain tumors are the second most common cancer in children, with approximately 2,500 to 3,500 brain tumors diagnosed in the United States each year.

Through the collaborative efforts of The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and affiliated physicians from the UTHealth Medical School, advances are being made in the treatment and survival of patients with brain and spinal cord tumors.

View our brain tumor program brochure »

Medulloblastoma Trial

A Phase I dose-escalation trial is now open to qualified participants. The trial studies the direct administration of methotrexate into the fourth ventricle of the brain for the treatment of children with recurrent malignant fourth ventricular brain tumors.

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor found in children, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors. Through advancements in clinical research, patients who qualify are now offered the Medulloblastoma phase-1 trial at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

learn more

How to Qualify

Please contact Marcia Kerr RN, CCRC via email, or at (713) 500-7363 in the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at UTHealth Medical School for qualification information regarding Phase I Study of Methotrexate Infusion into the Fourth Ventricle in Children with Recurrent Malignant Fourth Ventricular Brain Tumors.

Management of Pediatric Brain Tumors

Watch the video above from pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. David Sandberg about advanced neurosurgical management of pediatric brain tumors.

Knowing the signs

Brain tumors in children are often very different from those in adults, in cell type, presentation and responsiveness to treatment. Because a child’s brain is still developing, it is important for a child or adolescent to receive diagnosis and treatment from a physician team specializing in pediatric brain tumors.

Tumors present in a variety of ways depending on their location in the brain. The most common signs and symptoms are headache and vomiting due to elevated intracranial pressure. In infants and young children, irritability or a fontanelle that is fuller than normal may signal elevated intracranial pressure. Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Motor weakness
  • Sensory changes
  • Personality changes
  • Unsteady gait
  • Difficulty with muscle control
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Vision changes
  • Speech problems
  • Endocrine disorders

Teaming together to treat brain tumors in children and adolescents

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Program brings together a team of experts affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital to serve physicians, patients and families with new and advanced ways to diagnose and treat childhood brain tumors.

The pediatric brain tumor team includes board-certified specialists in:

Additional support is provided by psychologists, nutritionists, social workers and child life specialists as well as developmental and education specialists.

With a family-centered approach, the team treats a variety of brain and spinal cord tumors, including:

  • Medulloblastoma (primitive neuroectodermal tumor)
  • Astrocytoma
  • Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)
  • Ependymoma
  • Choroid plexus papilloma and carcinoma
  • Atypical teratoid-rhabdoid tumor (ATRT)
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Ganglioglioma
  • Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET)
  • Germ cell tumors

The pediatric brain tumor team’s approach to treatment

Physicians with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program partner with patients and families to deliver the best treatment tailored to children with brain and spinal tumors. In addition, the patient’s pediatrician will stay updated throughout the child’s care.

The program includes:

  • Surgical treatment by board-certified, fellowship-trained pediatric neurosurgeons
  • Comprehensive care provided by subspecialists from pediatric neuro-oncology, pediatric neurosurgery, radiation oncology and neuroradiology
  • Expert diagnosis provided by board-certified oncologic neuropathologists
  • Minimally invasive endoscopic techniques for resection of brain tumors
  • Avoidance of ventriculoperitoneal shunting, when possible, for hydrocephalus
  • Endoscopic transnasal and intraventricular approaches for selected tumors
  • Access to MD Anderson’s BrainSUITE® to allow complex surgeries to be performed with real-time view of the tumor using intraoperative MRI in the operating suite
  • Joint tumor board between specialists at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital
  • Proton radiation therapy with pencil-beam scanning and intensity-modulated proton therapy
  • Single-center clinical trial for recurrent medulloblastoma, ependymoma and atypical teratoid-rhabdoid tumors using the direct infusion of chemotherapy into the fourth ventricle
  • Access to multiple clinical trials for brain tumors
  • Survivorship clinic offering integrated, long-term care for patients

Contact Us

For additional information or to make an appointment, please contact the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.

6410 Fannin Street, Suite 950
Houston, Texas 77030
Phone: (832) 325-7242

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