Pediatric Brain Tumors

Our pediatric brain tumor team offers an unmatched level of care in our region. We use a team-based, compassionate care approach to deliver effective childhood brain cancer treatment.

Boy with brain illustration
brain tumor

Why choose UCLA Health for pediatric brain tumor care?

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Program is fully integrated in the world-renowned UCLA Brain Tumor Center and the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. We offer an unmatched level of care and expertise in our area. Our pediatric brain tumor specialists work together to provide comprehensive care for your child, as well as support for your whole family. Treatments can include brain tumor scans and pediatric chemotherapy. 

Highlights of our program include:

Team-based care: Our team includes experts from pediatric neuro-oncology, neurosurgery, neurology, neuroradiology, neuropathology, neurodevelopment and nursing. This collaborative approach allows us to personalize treatment plans. Psychologists, social workers, Child Life and school liaison specialists offer extensive support for navigating treatment.

Advanced technology: Our neurosurgeons use the most advanced technology available to remove tumors. Adaptations of virtual reality technology help us plan and prepare for surgery in ways that haven't been possible until now. These techniques lead to higher levels of precision during surgery, increasing the chances that we remove as much of the tumor as possible.

Research focus: We conduct our own studies, as well as participate in organizations such as the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC), Children's Oncology Group and Neurofibromatosis Clinical Trials Consortium. Collaborating within these networks allows us to improve access to clinical trials for eligible patients.  

Expanded treatment options: We are on the leading edge of brain tumor immunotherapy research. Our world-class research facility ensures that we can offer the most advanced science and technology to our patients, as soon as possible.

Our areas of care

Specialists in the UCLA Health Pediatric Brain Tumor Program work closely with physicians who treat patients with related conditions. These services include:

Comprehensive Pediatric Brain Tumor Conference: We routinely hold comprehensive brain tumor conferences where specialists in pediatric neuro-oncology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuropathology, neuro-ophthalmology, neuroradiology and social work meet to discuss each patient. Together our specialists develop a comprehensive treatment plan that considers all aspects of your child's well-being.

Pediatric Cancer Predisposition Clinic: Science is rapidly advancing. We now know that many pediatric brain tumors may be caused by an underlying cancer predisposition syndrome. Our Pediatric Brain Tumor Program works closely with the Pediatric Cancer Predisposition Clinic, where our pediatric oncologists, geneticists, genetic counselors and social workers provide cutting-edge diagnostic and surveillance recommendations for patients with inherited risk factors.

Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Program: UCLA is home to a Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) Center of Excellence. TSC is a rare genetic disorder that causes noncancerous (benign) tumors to grow throughout the body, often in the brain. Our pediatric neurologists, neuro-oncologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, neuroradiologists and neurosurgeons work together to provide expert multidisciplinary care for patients affected by this disorder.

UCLA Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis and Schwannomatosis Program: Our Pediatric Brain Tumor Program also works closely with the UCLA Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis (NF) and Schwannomatosis Program, which is designated by the Children's Tumor Foundation as an affiliate NF clinic. We work with UCLA Health neurosurgeons, geneticists, pain medicine specialists, neuro-ophthalmologists, psychologists and education specialists to provide seamless care for patients with NF type 1 (NF-1), NF type 2 (NF-2) and schwannomatosis. We are the only program on the West Coast to provide comprehensive care under one roof from childhood to adulthood.

Types of pediatric brain tumors we treat

Pediatric brain tumors may be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). We typically categorize these tumors based on where they are in the brain, how they look under a microscope and their genetic features. Tumors we commonly treat include:

  • Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT)
  • Choroid plexus tumor
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Dermoid/epidermoid
  • Diffuse midline glioma
  • Ependymoma
  • Glioblastoma
  • Low-grade glioma
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Optic pathway/hypothalamic glioma
  • Pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Pineal tumor
  • Pituitary adenoma

Childhood brain cancer treatments we offer

Treating a brain tumor often involves collaboration between multiple specialists. We use a multidisciplinary approach to offer your child the best possible outcomes. Treatment plans may include:  

Surgery: Pediatric brain tumor treatment almost always involves surgery. Our neurosurgeons use advanced techniques to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging surrounding tissue. Your child may undergo other treatments along with surgery.

Chemotherapy: Pediatric chemotherapy uses powerful drugs that destroy fast-growing cancer cells. Children may receive chemotherapy as an infusion (through an IV), injection or oral medication.

Radiation therapy: This treatment uses high radiation doses to destroy or shrink cancer cells. Children often need several treatment sessions over a few weeks.

Stereotactic radiosurgery: This specialized form of radiation therapy uses precisely focused beams of radiation to target the tumor while protecting surrounding brain tissue.

Targeted therapy: This treatment involves taking drugs that precisely target cancer cells. These drugs may tell the cancer cells to stop growing, signal the immune system to destroy cancer cells or send substances to cancer cells to destroy them.

Clinical trials: As one of the world's top research institutions, UCLA Health leads the way in brain tumor vaccine research and precision medicine in children. We offer patients access to these and other state-of-the-art clinical trials.

Our expert team

Our pediatric brain tumor team includes a spectrum of subspecialists. We work together to provide comprehensive cancer treatment for children. Our experts also participate in research studies to continually offer the newest, most advanced brain tumor therapies.

Contact us

Call 310-825-0867 to request an appointment with a pediatric brain tumor specialist at UCLA Health.

Find your care

Our pediatric specialists offer comprehensive brain tumor treatment. To learn more about pediatric brain tumor care, call 310-825-0867.