A diagnosis of a new brain or spinal cord tumor in your child can be the most frightening experience of your life as a parent. Knowing where to go for evaluation and care at the beginning can be the most important decision one can make.
When you bring your child to NewYork-Presbyterian you will immediately notice the difference in experience and compassion. Your child will benefit from researchers, doctors, nurses, and other specialists dedicated to continually improving the care of patients with these cancers. Our brain and spinal tumor programs, operating across NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital, are distinguished by a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach and excellent success in the use of innovative options beginning with world-class, minimally invasive surgery, and extending into targeted treatment options centered on precision medicine and drug delivery approaches. We are dedicated to getting our young patients back to their normal childhoods by maximizing the impact of treatment while reducing potential risks, giving them the best chance to both survive and thrive.
About Our Program
Advanced and Compassionate Care Based on the Latest Research
In a field of rapidly advancing techniques and technologies, NewYork-Presbyterian is at the forefront of innovation in the treatment of brain and spinal tumors to improve the quality of life of children diagnosed with these conditions. We understand the challenges faced by young patients with brain and spinal tumors and their families. We know that innovative research and a better understanding of brain tumor biology are essential for making progress against these cancers. Our multidisciplinary teams of specialists include clinician-researchers who are propelling the field of brain and spinal tumors with innovative multi-tiered research efforts aimed at treating the most difficult brain and spine tumors in children, many that were considered elsewhere to be untreatable.
Recognizing that every child with a brain or spinal tumor has a unique set of symptoms, circumstances, and needs, we take a holistic approach to your child’s care that considers the whole person, including his or her physical, emotional, and social factors. We strive to partner with patients and their parents in shared decision-making, empowering them with knowledge, support, and the most effective treatment options that will enable your child to reach the highest quality of life.
Our Approach to Care
At NewYork-Presbyterian, we are dedicated to finding the safest, most effective, and innovative approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of brain and spinal tumors that address your child’s individualized needs.
Multidisciplinary Team Approach
Our pediatric brain and spinal programs are directed by highly trained clinicians with specific areas of expertise. From the moment of diagnosis, our team of pediatric neurologists, pediatric neurosurgeons, radiation therapists, neuroendocrinologists, and oncologists customize a treatment plan for your child. Nurses, child life specialists, social workers, and others are vital members of the team who deliver and support your child's care. Together, your child's team selects and manages the most effective combination of therapies.
Maximizing Effectiveness, Minimizing Risk
When we design a regimen of brain or spinal tumor treatment for your child, we aim to choose therapies that are as effective as possible while minimizing the risk of long-term side effects. Your child's treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, investigational therapies, or a combination of these.
Personalized Therapy Based on the Genetics of Your Child's Tumor
Through the Children's Brain Tumor Project at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital and the Precision in Pediatric Sequencing (PIPseq) program at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, we can identify the molecular fingerprint of your child's tumor, yielding genetic data that enables us to personalize his or her therapy. This approach has the potential to propel pediatric brain tumor care to new levels of success. Armed with individual genetic information, our researchers hope to identify alternative delivery methods and drugs that specifically target each child's tumor such as anticancer agents delivered directly to tumors via microcatheters (very tiny tubes inserted into the tumor).
Emphasis on Your Child’s Quality of Life
Treatments for brain tumors, such as radiation therapy, can adversely impact a child's long-term health and well-being. We're committed to getting your child back to a normal childhood - maximizing the effectiveness of his or her treatment while reducing potential risks so your child can have the best chance of experiencing normal growth.
Seamless, Coordinated Care
We understand it can be challenging to juggle appointments and manage all the different aspects of your child's care. To provide seamless, efficient care, our patient care coordinators manage all the specialty consultations and steps required to care for your child. Our coordinators help arrange any necessary appointments, explain treatments, and review the timeframe for your child's care. We also help coordinate the care provided by our team with your child's pediatrician.
Why Choose Us
Access to World-Class Pediatric Specialists
Your child's healthcare team has access to all of the various pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists who practice at NewYork-Presbyterian, ensuring that all of your child's medical needs can be addressed.
A Unique Program and Registry for Rare Pediatric Brain Tumors
The Children's Brain Tumor Project at the Weill Cornell Pediatric Brain and Spine Center is dedicated to improving the outcome for children with rare pediatric brain tumors through advancing scientific discovery and clinical research that focuses on molecular targeted therapy, effective drug delivery, and low treatment-related toxicity. A key part of the project is the Gliomatosis Cerebri Registry, which provides a central database of gliomatosis cerebri (GC) cases worldwide, aggregating data on medical history, diagnostics, genomics, treatments, and outcomes. This enables our physicians to consult with other physicians and researchers worldwide about individual cases of GC diagnosed in other hospitals. It also provides a central place for patients and families confronting the diagnosis to find support and comfort from others.
Transforming Brain Tumor Care through Novel Research
Our Columbia and Weill Cornell Medicine investigators at NewYork-Presbyterian are conducting studies on novel drug delivery methods that safely and non-invasively cross the blood-brain barrier to focally deliver drugs to inoperable pediatric brain tumors such as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), glioblastoma, and relapsed malignant brain tumors (medulloblastoma, ependymoma, high-grade glioma).
- One approach involves convection-enhanced delivery (CED) for the chronic infusion of medicine directly into the brain tumor under controlled pressure so that maximum drug diffusion is achieved. Instead of one single injection, neurosurgeons implant under the skin a programmable drug-filled pump that has catheters expanding directly into the brain, allowing repeated chronic infusions and avoiding the systemic side effects of the medications. This approach is particularly important for tumors that cannot be surgically removed, such as DIPG, glioblastoma, and relapsed malignant brain tumors.
- Another study is investigating a non-invasive approach that employs dynamic ultrasound (FUS) in combination with intravenously injected microbubbles to gently separate the cells of the blood-brain barrier, allowing significantly higher amounts of therapies to reach the brain tumor.
Seamless Access to Resources and Support Services
At NewYork-Presbyterian, patients and families have seamless access to our vast resources, including on-staff neuropsychologists who offer testing and treatments for emotional and cognitive issues that may occur after a brain disorder. We also have a Parent-to-Parent program that can connect you personally with a parent whose child has been treated for the condition your child has.