Thanks to refined surgical techniques and improved chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the majority of children with brain and spinal cord tumors – collectively known as central nervous system tumors – are now long-term survivors. We specialize in these types of complex tumors at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Families choose us for our comprehensive, compassionate care and access to the latest, most effective treatments available.
Our patients receive the most advanced diagnostics and therapies including:
- Quick and accurate diagnosis from our dedicated pediatric neuropathology team
- Advanced pediatric radiation oncology therapies, including targeted radiosurgery and low-dose radiation therapy to minimize a child’s exposure to radiation
- Access to pediatric Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan and PET fusion imaging, which provides precise anatomical and functional images to help guide our treatment decisions
- Chemotherapy delivery techniques that minimize hospital admissions, including outpatient and oral chemotherapy, and direct delivery into the tumor site
Our multidisciplinary team of pediatric specialists works together to evaluate each patient and develop a custom, individualized care plan with your family to offer your child the highest possible quality of life after treatment. The team includes: endocrinologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, oncologists, ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat), radiologists, radiation oncologists, rehabilitation specialists, social workers and child life specialists
Cutting-Edge Treatments for Brain and Spinal Tumors
Surgery is often used to treat brain tumors in children. The goal of surgery is to remove all or as much of the tumor as possible while preserving neurological function. Usually a biopsy or sample of tissue is taken during surgery to examine the types of cells found in the tumor. This helps your care team establish a comprehensive treatment plan.
Other therapies used to treat brain tumors include:
- Chemotherapy (cancer drugs)
- Radiation therapy (high-energy rays that kill or shrink cancer cells)
- Steroids to treat and prevent swelling in the brain
- High-dose chemotherapy and stem-cell rescue
- Supportive care for the side effects of the tumor or treatment
- Rehabilitation to regain lost motor skills and muscle strength
- Continuous follow-up care to manage disease, detect recurrence of the tumor and manage late effects of treatment
Continuous follow-up care is essential for a child diagnosed with a brain tumor, because the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, as well as second malignancies, can occur in survivors of brain tumors. Rehabilitation for lost motor skills and muscle strength may also be required.
Leading Research and Exclusive Clinical Trials
Our patients have access to clinical trials, including Phase 1 Children’s Oncology Group clinical trials. Phase 1 trials are available at only a handful of centers around the country, offering the newest drugs available for children who haven’t responded well to other treatments.
Our leadership in brain tumor treatment research consistently provides us with a thorough understanding of the latest treatment options to produce the best outcome for your child.
The U-M Brain Tumor (CNS) Tumor Precision Medicine Conference is held monthly with the goal of identifying precision-medicine based therapies for pediatric brain tumor patients using molecular info generated from innovative research and clinical tests performed at the University of Michigan. Pediatric and adult brain tumor patients’ cases are presented with attention to: (1) pathology results, (2) clinical molecular results, (3) clinical cytogenetics results, (4) research Mi-Oncoseq tumor genomic profiling, and (5) research information obtained from tumor samples obtained and/or cultured through U-M Brain Tumor Bank Program. Learn more.
Patient and Family Support
Both tumors and their treatments have potential for long-term side effects and complications, including learning disabilities, emotional challenges, personality changes, and movement and sensory deficits. Our Brain Tumor Support Group meets on the third Tuesday of the month, from 7-8:30 p.m., in the Department of Neurology library on level 1 of the Taubman Center. For more information or questions about the support group, please call 734-936-9071.