Neuro-Oncology Center

Florida's Top-Ranked Hospital for Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery

We offer the most comprehensive multidisciplinary center, providing specialized treatment of childhood tumors of the brain and spinal cord.

patient gabriel smiling with partially shaved head after his surgery.
patient gabriel smiling with partially shaved head after his surgery.

The prognosis for children with brain tumors has improved drastically over the last decade, but advances in medicine and research trials that have paved the way for more targeted treatments. The Neuro-Oncology Center at Nicklaus Children’s is comprised of a multidisciplinary team where each specialist applies their expertise in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and customize a treatment plan that works best for each individual patient.

Treatment of Brain Tumors in Children

Treatment of Brain Tumors in Children

Brain cancer is the second most common type of cancer in children accounting for 15% of all pediatric cancer patients. Children are referred to the brain institute after a child presents to an urgent care center, emergency room, or primary care provider with concerning symptoms that include:

  • Headaches (particularly worse in the morning)
  • Persistent vomiting (more often in the morning)
  • Abnormal body movements or seizures
  • Balance or walking difficulties
  • Vision or eye problems
  • Increased fatigue.

The symptoms of a brain tumor can vary depending on the type of tumor and its location, therefore, imaging is often required. An accurate diagnosis is one of the most important steps in the management of brain and spinal cord tumor patients. A wide variety of tests are used to confirm the diagnosis. 

Each child’s brain tumor treatment plan is customized in order to fit his/her individual needs. Treatment options can include:

Conditions We Treat

Tumors can lead to other conditions in the brain that need to be addressed by a neurosurgical team. One of the most common conditions is called hydrocephalus.

Infographic of hydrocephalus

At baseline, the brain is suspended in a fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is constantly circulating around the brain and inside the skull. If a tumor gets in the way of that flow, the fluid will back up inside the skull and lead to “hydrocephalus” (“hydro” meaning water and “cephalus” meaning the head). This can be dangerous if left untreated.

Our team is able to address the needs of children with many different types of brain tumors, including:

Clinical Cancer Research

The Neuro-Oncology Center participates in in clinical cancer research studies focused on finding new cures, treatments and procedures for pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors.

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Innovation and Technology

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is home to an intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) system which allows the surgeon to take images of the brain during surgery. This enables the team to determine the difference between healthy tissue and abnormal brain tissue in real time during the surgery to allow for more accurate tumor resection.

The hospital became the first pediatric facility in Florida to offer this leading-edge equipment. It brings MRI technology – recognized as the “gold standard” in differentiating between healthy and abnormal brain tissue—directly into the surgical suite to enhance surgical effectiveness and safety.

A Collaboration of Two Great Programs

The Helen & Jacob Shaham Cancer and Blood Disorders Institute works closely with the Nicklaus Children's Brain Institute to provide the highest quality of care for children with brain tumors. Following appropriate surgical treatment by the world-renowned pediatric neurosurgery team, treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be required.

Our pediatric specialty team includes:

  • Advanced Care Professionals (APRNs and APPs)
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Board-Certified Neurosurgeons
  • Child Life Specialists
  • Endocrinologists
  • Geneticists
  • Music Therapists
  • Neurologists
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Oncologists
  • Pain Management Team
  • Palliative Care (Pediatric Advanced Care Team)
  • Pathologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychologists
  • Radiologists
  • Rehabilitation Specialists (Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy)
  • School Liaison
  • Social Workers
  • Specialists in Survivorship
featured patient photo.
featured patient photo.

Stories to Inspire

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is to become only the third site in North America involved in a Phase I clinical trial studying the role of a new technology called low-frequency focused ultrasound (LoFU) in the care of children with a lethal type of brain tumor that forms within the brainstem.
More Stories

Awards & Associations