• Glioma Program

    Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has the world’s largest pediatric glioma treatment program. Ongoing research on the genetic and molecular causes of the disease is transferred to the bedside, where some of the world’s most most experienced pediatric brain tumor specialists and pediatric subspecialists use sophisticated technology and therapies to maximize outcomes for our patients.

    The Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Glioma Program has the expertise to diagnose and treat a wide range of low-grade and high-grade gliomas, including:

    Low-grade Gliomas 

    High-grade Gliomas 

    How We Diagnose Gliomas

    A quick and accurate diagnosis of cancer means that treatment can begin sooner rather than later. Our pediatric neurologists, neuro-oncologists and neurosurgeons perform a comprehensive medical history and neurological exam before a cancer diagnosis is made, and our dedicated pediatric neuropathologists examine biopsied brain tissue to aid in diagnosis and confirmation of tumor type. Access to New England’s only pediatric PET scan and PET fusion imaging provide precise anatomical images that guide our physicians’ treatment decisions.

    How We Treat Gliomas

    Initially, low-grade gliomas are treated with neurosurgery and monitored for regrowth. If surgical removal is not an option due to the tumor’s location or if the tumor begins to grow back after its removal, our doctors may recommend chemotherapy or biologic therapy. Radiation therapy is rarely used to treat these tumors because of the high risk of adverse side effects and the overall excellent prognosis without radiation.

    Most high-grade gliomas need to undergo maximal surgical resection. Technologies like intra-operative MRI allow our surgeons to visualize the tumor as they operate, enhancing their ability to successfully remove the tumor without damaging criticial parts of the brain. Following surgery, precisely targeted doses of radiation therapy are delivered to kill cancer cells left behind.

    Our Glioma Expertise

    Dana-Farber/Boston Children's patients have access to the broadest set of pediatric and oncologic expertise available. The breadth of our expertise allows us to assemble a team of experts to meet the specific needs of the patient.

    At the core of the treatment team is a neuro-oncologist with expertise in treating gliomas. Many of our brain tumor specialists are also active researchers, so our patients have access to the very best and up-to-date treatments available.

    From there, we build a team that is best suited to carry out the patient’s treatment plan, including neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and radiologists. 

    We round out the team with experts that help the child prepare for life during and after treatment, including psychiatrists and psychologists, child life specialists, social workers, nutritionists, and school specialists.

    Glioma Research & Clinical Trials

    Our clinical research program offers children with hard-to-treat gliomas unique access to clinical trials. We are consistently one of the most highly funded pediatric brain tumor centers in the United States. A major focus of our research program is the rapid translation of scientific discoveries to the bedside to benefit patients. Through this research, our physicians work to improve therapeutic approaches and outcomes for hard-to-treat brain tumors. Search for current glioma clinical trials.

    Dana-Farber is home to the Pediatric Low-Grade Astrocytoma (PLGA) Program, established by the PLGA Foundation in 2007. The PLGA Program is the only dedicated pediatric low-grade glioma research program in America, and since has grown into a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional program, with collaborations initiated internally at Dana-Farber, nationally with other institutions in America, and internationally in Europe.

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    Call 1-855-320-2093. We can answer your questions about treatment, second opinions, and new patient scheduling. In urgent cases, we typically can see new patients within 24 hours.
  • Brain Tumor Clinical Trials

    Learn about our pediatric brain tumor research and clinical trials, including studies for innovative new therapies.callout bg
  • Rated One of Best Hospitals

    US News

    Rated one of best hospitals in the U.S. for childhood cancer care