Brain tumor - children
University of Florida Shands Children’s Hospital and its pediatric tumor program are ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the nation’s best. This recognition, combined with an overall mission to care for and support our patients and families, leads to advanced treatment with a personalized touch from our pediatric neuro-oncology team.
Our interdisciplinary clinical team includes pediatric experts from numerous departments throughout UF Health. These include: neuro-oncology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neurology, neuroradiology, neuropathology, bone marrow transplant, anesthesiology, and neuropsychology. The care of children at University of Florida Shands Children’s Hospital is aided greatly by the full range of pediatric services, including nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social work, and child life. The new UF Health Neuromedicine tower provides a welcoming clinic space for outpatient visits as well as intraoperative MRI.
The highly trained physicians and scientists at the Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy take a patient-centered approach to care. Because no two individuals respond in the same way to any treatment, the multidisciplinary team of specialists provides highly individualized diagnostics and treatment plans. The ultimate goal is to provide the optimal patient experience.
Our team is experienced in formulating effective treatments for all types of brain tumors, including:
- Institutional clinical trials
- Multi-institutional clinical trials from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC)
- Multi-institutional clinical trials from the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC)
- First-in-human immunotherapy treatments for recurrent pediatric malignant tumors
- Minimally invasive computer-guided biopsies or tumor removals
- Advanced radiation oncology techniques, including intensity, modulated conformal therapy and proton beam therapy
- Conventional and investigational chemotherapy/biological therapy options
- Laser interstitial thermal therapy for brain tumors and lesions
Understanding treatment options
Every child and his or her family members will meet with a brain tumor specialist, usually at the neurosurgery outpatient practice. After a detailed discussion of the options and risks, treatment will be scheduled. If a surgical or radio-surgical procedure is needed, it will be performed at the patient's convenience within one week.
The case will be presented to our weekly brain tumor board when members of the clinical team will gather to review the case in detail and formulate the most personalized treatment plan for additional therapy.
Currently, there are several ongoing clinical trials for pediatric brain and spine tumors at UF. In addition, we are the only Southeast US member of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC). This network of 18 children’s hospitals is dedicated to translating the latest findings in cancer biology and personalized medicine into better treatment for children with brain and spine tumors. We are also the only Florida member of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC). The PBTC was formed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1999 to improve the treatment of primary brain tumors in children. The participating centers are responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of a large percentage of children with primary brain tumors in the United States. All of these allow us to provide the latest treatments to our patients.
Leading the way in national brain tumor research
The Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy is home to some of the most advanced neuro-oncology research in the world. The Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Florida is one of the top-funded neurosurgery departments in the United States. Supported by the National Institutes of Health and other grant sources, the department is a destination for some of the top researchers in the area of neuro-oncology. The brain tumor research teams at the center include more than 20 scientists who are focused on finding a cure for brain cancer.
Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research
Since 2006, experts within the Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research, or FCBTR, at the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute at UF have worked with hospitals statewide to collect tissue and disseminate data on brain tumors, creating a powerful tool to facilitate clinical trials, funding opportunities, and research collaborations.
FCBTR is a collaborative effort, sponsored by the state of Florida, and its Scientific Advisory Council includes top researchers from H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Scripps Research Institute, Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health, University of Miami and a representative of neurosurgeons in private practice. FCBTR has sponsored annual statewide brain tumor biomedical technology summits to encourage collaboration.