Brain and Spine Tumor Program

At the Children’s Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC) of Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, TX, the NeuroOncology, also known as Brain/Spine Tumor, clinic is dedicated to the specialized care and treatment of patients with malignant and benign tumors of the brain and spinal cord, as well as neurological complications of pediatric cancer. 

Brain or spinal cord tumors can cause many side effects including headaches, weakness, pain, dizziness, loss of vision or hearing, loss of ability to walk, talk, eat, or swallow, seizures, loss of bowel and bladder control, and deterioration in school performance. 

We have a comprehensive Neuro-Oncology team that consists of a collaboration between radiation and medical oncologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, neuropathologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, patient care coordinators, advanced practice providers, certified pediatric oncology nurses, neuropsychologists, social workers, school liaisons, dieticians, and physical therapists to help with these needs.

How We Help Kids with Neuro-Oncological Needs

  • Patients with possible tumors are immediately identified and the team develops an engagement plan.
  • Upon diagnosis, the team meets with the family to discuss medical and social needs.
  • The Neuro-Oncology nurse coordinator arranges for the patient to be seen in our outpatient multidisciplinary clinic and helps the patient and family manage the child’s disease and follow up.
  • The patient continues to be seen in the Neuro-Oncology clinic for follow up visits and the team develops a strong bond with the family to collaborate on the decision making process.

Program Goals

The goal of the Neuro-Oncology program is to support the patient and family from diagnosis through survivorship.

  • The team provides updated research options for neuro-oncology patients by providing open research studies from the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), Beat Childhood Cancer (BCC) and other brain tumor consortiums.
  • The team provides a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach to caring for children with central nervous system tumors that helps to improve patient and family satisfaction and medical care compliance. The Children’s Blood & Cancer Center offers the best environment in which to manage neuro-oncology patients.
  • Through specialized care, patients and families enjoy improved quality of life and are better able to cope with cancer and its treatments. Patients become happier, healthier, and stronger survivors.

Common Diagnoses

  • Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT)
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Desmoplastic Infantile Ganglioglioma (DIG)
  • Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)
  • Diffuse Midline Glioma
  • Dysembryoplastic Neuroepithelial Tumor (DNET)
  • Ependymoma
  • Ganglioglioma
  • Germinoma
  • Gliomas (Pilocytic Astrocytoma, Diffuse Astrocytoma, Anaplastic Astrocytoma, Glioblastoma)
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Meningioma
  • Pineoblastoma
  • Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma (PXA)
  • Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET)
  • Polymorphous Low-Grade Neuroepithelial Tumor of the Young (PLNTY)
  • Schwannoma

Common Procedures

  • Awake Craniotomy
  • Craniotomy for High Grade Gliomas with ALA-5 Fluorescence
  • Craniotomy with ICG Fluorescence
  • Craniotomy with Intraoperative MRI
  • Craniotomy with Neuronavigation
  • Endoscopic Assisted Surgery
  • Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
  • Laser Interstitial Thermal Treatment
  • Minimally Invasive Endonasal Surgery
  • Radiosurgery (Cyberknife and gamma knife)
  • Stereotactic Biopsy