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Pediatric Brain and Central Nervous System Cancers

Children treated here have access to more clinical trials and new treatments than anywhere else in Minnesota. Many of the treatments now available to children with cancer were pioneered here at our National Cancer Institute-designated research facility, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.
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Brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) Cancers are the most common type of solid tumor in children, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all childhood cancers.

The most commonly diagnosed brain tumors include:
  • Medulloblastomas (PNETs)
  • Gliomas
  • Astrocytoma
  • Malignant gliomas
  • Ependymoma

Our Approach

Children treated here have access to more clinical trials and new treatments than anywhere else in Minnesota. Many of the treatments now available to children with cancer were pioneered here at our National Cancer Institute-designated research facility, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Our discoveries often become the standard of care for patients around the world.

Proving what works and making it available to patients

Patients undergoing treatment for brain tumors benefit from the work of Translational Working Groups, which are part of University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center. Close collaboration between knowledge experts from basic science, clinical research, and translational research make it possible for our patients to be among the first to benefit from clinical trial protocols.

Ours is the only institution with first-in-the-nation targeted therapies including pediatric blood brain barrier disruption therapies, vaccine therapy, and bone marrow transplant, all available under one roof to the child or young adult with a brain tumor.

Neurofibromatosis treatment and research

Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is a genetic disorder that affects multiple systems. The brain tumors associated with NF1 may become cancerous, and treatment may include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. Because NF1 patients live with a progressive disease, vigilant treatment is critical to lessen secondary damage while treating any specific NF-related condition.

Our multidisciplinary team leads the Minnesota Neurofibromatosis Clinic Without Walls. In collaboration with Gillette Children’s Specialty Hospital in St. Paul, we provide care to patients with neurofibromatosis from infancy through adulthood, and maintain strong ties to research in the field. We are members of the Children’s Tumor Foundation Neurofibromatosis Network.

Treatments, Tests, and Procedures

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a treatment option for adults or children with cancer using drugs that kill cancer cells. Often simply called “chemo,” chemotherapy is a combination of medications designed to destroy cancer cells, cause remission of your cancer or actually cure the cancer.
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Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapy

At University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, we perform the two main types of stem cell transplant: Autologous transplant – uses the body’s own stem cells and Allogeneic transplant – uses well-matched stem cells from another person.
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TomoTherapy

TomoTherapy is a specialized form of radiation delivery that combines radiation therapy with 3D imaging to create more precise targeting of tumors. It works by delivering radiation beams from multiple directions allowing the radiation to match the exact shape of the tumor.
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Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is an emerging form of cancer treatment with great promise and limited toxicity. Its goal is to harness the power of the patient’s immune system and use it to fight cancer. Sometimes called biological therapy, it's changing the way we think about cancer treatment.
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There may be other treatments, test, and procedures for this diagnosis, including:

  • Radiation Therapy

Call your preferred location to schedule an appointment or submit an online request.