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The Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National Hospital is home to internationally recognized experts dedicated to providing your child with a better quality of life after a brain tumor diagnosis.

Brain tumors are abnormal growths that disrupt the normal functioning of your child's brain and nervous system. These tumors are especially challenging in children because their brains are still developing, putting them at risk for lifelong complications.

Our program, led by Roger Packer, M.D.Robert Keating, M.D.Brian Rood, M.D.Lindsay Kilburn, M.D. and Eugene Hwang, M.D., is comprised of neurosurgeons, oncologists, neurologists and radiation oncologists aided by experts in neuroendocrinology, neuroradiology, neuropsychology and neuropathology. This means that your child will receive comprehensive care from a multidisciplinary team that consist of the best and brightest minds in the field.

Our Providers

Our pediatric specialists provide personalized care for your child’s physical, mental and emotional health needs.

Contact Information

For appointments, please call 1-888-884-BEAR (2327) and for information, call 202-476-3643. For urgent assistance outside of business hours, call 202-476-5000.

A World Leader in Childhood Brain Tumor Care and Research

The Brain Tumor Institute at Children’s National is pioneering novel therapies developed at Children's National, including new molecularly-targeted therapies, vaccines, T-cell immunotherapies and less invasive techniques. Our commitment to research gives your child access to the latest, most effective treatments for brain tumors, saves lives and improves outcomes. In addition, we include your family in all treatment decisions.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Expertise. We offer a depth of experience that few centers can match, including physicians who have dedicated their careers to treating children with brain tumors. Our highly skilled specialists have advanced training in diagnosing and treating brain tumors with the most effective, least invasive treatments possible. Our skilled pediatric neurosurgeons utilize the finest equipment including and a dedicated intraoperative MRI and state-of-the-art navigation devices to allow safer, less invasive surgery. Meet the team
  • Advanced treatments. We are one of few centers that offers pediatric proton therapy through our collaborative Radiation Oncology Program. In addition, we have exclusive access to Phase I clinical trials and can provide your child with new medications available in only a handful of centers. We are pioneering new immunotherapeutic approaches, including brain derived vaccines and T-cell therapies. Find out more about Experimental Therapeutics for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
  • Safety. Children’s National is also the first program in the United States with a pediatric dedicated high-intensity focused ultrasound and low-intensity focused ultrasound unit, offering minimally invasive surgical options for children with deep-seated low-grade tumors and novel, potentially life-saving therapy with LIFU-mediated blood-brain barrier disruptions for diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.
  • Quality of life. Our child-centered approach includes psychologists, neuropsychologists and child care specialists who continuously monitor the effects of treatment on your child’s cognitive development. Learn more about Neuropsychology at Children’s National.
  • Collaborative care. We are one of the few programs in the country where experts in neurology and neuro-oncology consult each other on all aspects of brain tumor care. Children benefit from specialists in both fields throughout their treatment experience, as well as additional subspecialists when necessary. This comprehensive approach ensures the best possible care for your child.

Pediatric Brain Tumor Research at Children’s National

Our researchers are pushing the scientific boundaries of pediatric brain tumor care, providing the latest, most promising diagnosis and treatment options to our patients. Our research has been recognized around the world and focuses on:

  • Atypical teratoid/ rhabdoid tumor
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Ependymoma
  • Germ cell tumors, including mixed germ cell tumors
  • High-grade gliomas, including brainstem (DIPG)
  • Late effects of brain tumors and their treatment
  • Low-grade gliomas, including chiasmatic, low grade, and optic nerve
  • Medulloblastoma, and other infantile embryonal tumors

Children’s National’s brain tumor clinical research is worldwide and we proudly serve as members of the world’s largest and most prestigious clinical trials networks, including:

Profile of a person's head with an image of the brain.

Understanding Brain Tumors

Brain tumors are abnormal growths of tissue in the brain, which may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). They happen at any age, but differ in children and adults.

Image of cancer cells floating on a translucent background

Oncology Clinical Trials

We are dedicated to the mission of developing novel therapies for cancer and bring advanced clinical trials to our patients, some of which are only available at Children’s National.

Our Team Approach to Pediatric Brain Tumor Care

To provide your child with the best possible care, we have assembled a team of pediatric experts, including neurologists and neuro-oncologists. Together, these specialists meet regularly to create personalized treatment plans and provide advanced care to children with brain tumors.

During a single clinic visit your child meets with a broad range specialists from various departments, including:

Getting a Diagnosis

An accurate diagnosis is the foundation for any successful cancer treatment. At Children’s National Hospital, we ensure a precision diagnosis for every child. We offer advanced imaging studies, such as functional MRI, and our team includes world-class pediatric brain tumor pathologists.

Brain Tumor Treatments

Children's National offers the full range of pediatric brain tumor therapies, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapies.

Lexy's Story

Sixteen-year-old West Virginia native Lexy Blair and her parents knew that something was wrong when she started needing to take breaks during her favorite dance classes. Lexy was suffering from intense fatigue and constant headaches, and was unable to keep up with her rigorous dance training or even finish days of school, which had never posed a problem for her in the past.