Treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors usually requires a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy depending upon the type, grade and location of the tumor. Because brain cells and cells of the central nervous system do not regenerate, treatment regimens are designed to preserve normal tissue to avoid endangering vital function and cognitive abilities, especially in pediatric patients.
While surgical removal is associated with favorable outcomes for many brain and spinal cord tumors, treatment options for inoperable or highly aggressive malignant tumors are limited.
Researchers at the Center for Childhood Cancer Research are using state-of-the-art genomic, immunotherapeutic and targeted molecular approaches to develop new treatments and optimize existing therapies to treat pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors.
The efforts of investigators at the CCCR have resulted in:
- Optimization of radiation treatment (including proton therapy) and conventional chemotherapies to reduce toxicities and side effects for pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors
- The use of molecular and genomic testing to aid in treatment selection, anticipate treatment responsiveness, and better predict clinical outcomes
- Identification and characterization of molecular targets that can be used to develop targeted therapies to treat brain and spinal cord tumors
- Development of pioneering immunotherapies including monoclonal antibodies and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells to treat certain types of brain and spinal cord tumors
- Clinical evaluation of immunotherapies to treat highly aggressive malignant or inoperable brain and spinal cord tumors