Brain Tumors and Spinal Cord Tumors in Children

Duke’s pediatric brain tumor center is dedicated to improving outcomes and curing children with brain tumors and spinal cord tumors. Children travel to us from around the world to participate in our clinical trials. Our pediatric program is part of the internationally recognized Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center. We offer advanced therapies and comprehensive care for our patients with these tumors.

A Team Approach to Your Child’s Brain Tumor, Spinal Cord Tumor Treatment

Optimal care for your child’s brain or spinal cord tumor requires a large team of specialists. 

  • Our pediatric neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and neuro-oncologists work closely with you and your child to create a personalized treatment plan. Your child’s care team also includes oncology nurses, nurse practitioners, research nurses and staff, social workers, cancer geneticists, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech therapists.
  • We focus on keeping your child as comfortable as possible during treatment and work hard to minimize side effects and improve his or her overall quality of life.  Our team includes experts in pain management, supportive nutrition, relaxation techniques, and therapies for coping with treatment and hospitalization.
  • An advanced care nurse is your main point of contact throughout your child’s treatment and recovery. Your child’s advanced care nurse and neuro-oncologists are available to you 24/7.
  • Our infusion center and clinic operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week. This reduces hospital admissions and allows us to accommodate your work and your child’s school schedules as much as possible.

Clinical Trials Are an Integral Part of Our Treatment Approach

Duke is a nationally recognized leader in immunotherapy and targeted agents and has been at the forefront of important treatment breakthroughs that have improved patient outcomes. Children travel to Duke from around the world to participate in our clinical trials. 

  • As part of a worldwide network of pediatric brain tumor centers, we offer the latest advances in testing, access to a broad range of clinical trials, and the most advanced treatments currently available.
  • As a participant, your child may have access to innovative therapies only available at Duke, including our nationally recognized polio vaccine clinical trial. Our team interfaces with families and referring physicians to discuss treatments and explore options as a complimentary service. We accept new patients promptly and have a large support team to process referral information and streamline reviews of new patients by our pediatric neuro-oncologists.

Our Care for Your Child Continues After Treatment

This is a critical component of an excellent brain tumor program, as children with brain tumors may face unique challenges after they complete treatment. 

  • Your child’s follow-up care includes regular screenings, ongoing surveillance, and referrals to subspecialists as needed. 
  • We help your child transition back to school.
  • Our programs help your child and family manage the immediate and long-term physical and emotional side-effects of treatment, including vocation support and mentoring. 


Many pediatric brain tumors can be treated successfully with surgery alone, while others may require a combination of therapies. Your child’s team meets regularly to discuss treatment and progress and makes adjustments as needed.

Family and Support Services

Our dedicated pediatric neuro-oncology social worker funnels significant philanthropic and community resources to help our children and families during treatment and afterward. She works with our team to address the particular needs of each child, even long after treatment is complete.

Patient resources

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