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Children's National Health System Hosts First International Pediatric Low-Grade Glioma Symposium

Washington, DC – Children’s National Health System recently hosted the first International Pediatric Low-Grade Glioma Symposium where researchers from around the globe met to discuss developments in treatment and care for children with low-grade gliomas, the most common childhood brain tumor. 

Under the direction of Roger Packer, MD, Senior Vice President of the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, Director of Brain Tumor Institute, and Director of Neurofibromatosis Institute at Children’s National, 35 clinical and translational researchers from across the United States, Canada, and Europe, gathered in Washington, DC, to share cutting-edge research results and create the backbone of future studies, which hold the hope of dramatically changing the ways childhood low-grade gliomas are treated in the future. The conference was co-sponsored by Children’s National and the Pediatric Low-Grade Glioma Association. 

Low-grade gliomas (LGG) account for 50 percent of brain tumors and originate from glial cells, which support and nourish neurons in the brain. Most LGGs are highly treatable and curable but can cause significant visual loss, cognitive dysfunction, and loss of full use of the arms and legs. 

“The landscape of what’s happening in research and treatment for pediatric low-grade gliomas is rapidly changing, which is why we took the opportunity to gather experts from around the world to discuss how to implement the new molecular understandings and drugs coming out that could potentially lead to better outcomes for our patients,” Dr. Packer said. 

The symposium helped lay groundwork to standardize the next three to five years of LGG research and clinical trials so experts can work together toward the common goal of improving patients’ outcomes and quality of life. 

“My colleagues who joined us for this meeting from around the world are equally dedicated to working together to set a framework for future progress of treatment for this disease,” Dr. Packer said. “Combining our research, knowledge, and experience will ensure we’re able to get these new treatments to patients faster.” 

Dr. Packer is the Chair of the Low-grade Glioma Committee for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and, over the years, has led many national protocols for children with LGGs including the current standard of care, called the Packer Protocol, which was developed over 20 years ago. Dr. Packer and his colleagues are working together to develop new treatments which would be even more effective, especially in regards to improving patients’ quality of life. 

Holding this symposium is the first step toward making LGG studies more meaningful and getting answers faster. The next International Pediatric Low-grade Glioma Symposium is scheduled to take place in Europe next year. 

“What was discussed in this first meeting will help us make great progress toward finding the best treatment options for children with low-grade gliomas. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues from around the world to make this a reality,” Dr. Packer said. 

Contact: Lauren Lytle at 202-476-4500