About the Neuroendocrine Center
Pediatric endocrinologists with a special interest in neuro-endocrinology are at the core of your child’s care team in the Neuroendocrine Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Our endocrinologists partner with other key specialties, including Neurosurgery, the Neuro-oncology Program, Neuro-radiology, Neuro-ophthalmology, Genetics, Pathology, the Cancer Survivorship Program, the Growth Center, the Adrenal and Puberty Center, and the Healthy Weight Program. We also work closely with colleagues from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Pituitary Center, who focus on pituitary disease in adults. Rounding out your child’s team are nutritionists and social workers who have a unique understanding of the needs of children and families dealing with neuroendocrine conditions.
Your child’s assessment
Patients and families who seek consultation with the Neuroendocrine Center will receive a comprehensive assessment of their child’s hypothalamic and pituitary systems. Where possible, we work to consolidate multiple specialist appointments and/or diagnostic testing to occur on the same day.
When multiple services are required, the consultation will take place at our Main Campus. If endocrine is the focus, the patient may be seen at one of our Specialty Care Centers in Chalfont, King of Prussia, or Abington.
The initial assessment of the hypothalamic and pituitary region most often includes hormonal testing and MRI imaging. If your child has undergone these tests at another institution, we will ask for the imaging and testing results, and may request that some of the tests be repeated. Our priority is to ensure that families have a complete understanding of their child’s condition and the next steps regarding their diagnosis and treatment.
The therapy or combination of therapies we recommend following diagnosis will be specific to the child’s condition. Treatment may include hormonal replacement, genetic testing, and surgical and/or oncologic referrals. In some cases, we may discuss opportunities for your child to participate in research studies that expand their treatment options.
We welcome and encourage families seeking additional opinions on their child’s care, to ensure they are following the best possible treatment plan, whether at CHOP or their home institution.
Conditions we treat
Here is a selection of the conditions we treat in the Neuroendocrine Center.
- Hypothalamic/pituitary tumors that produce hormones (e.g., prolactinoma, Cushing’s disease, gigantism/acromegaly)
- Hypothalamic/pituitary tumors that may affect hormonal function (e.g., hamartoma, germinoma, adenoma)
- Evaluation of other hypothalamic/pituitary abnormality detected on MRI of the brain (e.g., cyst, adenoma, empty sella)
- Infiltrative problems affecting the hypothalamus/pituitary (e.g., Langerhans cell histiocytosis)
- Congenital abnormalities of the hypothalamus/pituitary (e.g., septo-optic dysplasia, optic nerve hypoplasia, ectopic posterior pituitary, Kallmann syndrome)
- Concern for abnormal neuroendocrine function or metabolism (e.g., central adrenal insufficiency, diabetes insipidus, hypothalamic obesity, lipodystrophy)
Our neuroendocrinology research
The goal of our collaborative research program is to meaningfully improve the lives of patients and families affected by hypothalamic and pituitary disease. With a portfolio of projects including basic, translational, clinical, and quality improvement approaches, we have several key goals.
Biorepository for hypothalamic and pituitary disease specimens
Our physician-researchers are generating a resource of biological specimens and clinical data from patients and families with hypothalamic and pituitary disease that can be accessed by investigators at CHOP and Penn, across the country, and around the world. This work helps to remove one of the most challenging barriers to performing research on the pathophysiology of these conditions, which is access to important biological materials and high-quality clinical information. With this repository, we are investigating, for example, the genetic etiologies of disease and the mechanisms of development of the hypothalamus and pituitary.
We are establishing an infrastructure for performing clinical trials to test cutting-edge interventions related to neuroendocrine disorders. One of our active protocols is studying a novel hormonal therapy for hypothalamic obesity syndrome.
Educating our peers
We are collating and publishing our experiences to promote education around important and challenging clinical problems in neuroendocrinology, for example, the management of pediatric diabetes insipidus.