Nicholas Alexander Vitanza, MD

Nicholas Alexander Vitanza, MD


On staff since August 2016

Academic Title: Acting Assistant Professor

"I am grateful to have trained with remarkable teachers at Stony Brook, NYU, and Stanford who shared their knowledge and instilled in me the drive to provide compassionate and comprehensive care to children with central nervous system tumors. Since arriving at Seattle Children's Hospital, I have been fortunate to find an equally dedicated team of clinicians and researchers who work tirelessly to advance our care and our understanding of pediatric CNS tumors. In order to find for more effective and safer cures, I help lead laboratory research investigating diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center and I assist in developing CNS immunotherapy trials at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. Most importantly, I care for children and young adults with brain and spinal cord tumors."

  • Dr. Nicholas Vitanza is a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Seattle Children's Hospital and laboratory researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. During his pediatric residency at Stony Brook University in New York, Dr. Vitanza first became interested in pediatric oncology, which combined both of his passions: working with critically ill children and participating in basic science research. He completed a Pediatric Oncology Fellowship at New York University (NYU), where he joined Bill Carrols Relapsed Leukemia Laboratory, in which he trained in the testing of novel drug combinations and the molecular targeting of refractory tumors. While at NYU, Dr. Vitanza was the first author of research investigating the role of IKZF1 mutations in relapsed leukemia, received grant funding through the American Society of Hematology (ASH), and received a Young Investigator research award from the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO). To further his training, he received further training in Pediatric Neuro-Oncology at Stanford University where he cared exclusively for children with central nervous system tumors and was a post-doctural researcher in Michelle Monjes Neuro-developmental and Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Laboratory. Recently, his work studying molecular changes and new drug targeting in DIPG, a universally fatal brain tumor of children, was published in Cancer Cell. In 2016, he joined Seattle Childrens Hospital where he continues to care for children with malignant brain and spinal cord tumors and also conducts basic science research in DIPG through the Jim Olson, MD, PhD Laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and develops central nervous system tumor immunotherapy trials with Mike Jensen, MD at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research. Dr. Vitanza is generously funded by the McKenna Claire Foundation for Brain Tumor Research.

  • Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
    Outstanding Research Commendation International Society of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Conference, Liverpool, UK 2016
    Outstanding Research Award Stanford University, 7th Annual Stanford Pediatric Research Retreat 2016
    Young Investigator Award American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 2014
    Research Training Award for Fellows (RTAF) American Society of Hematology 2013
    Frances Pope Memorial Foundation Fellow New York University Langone Medical Center 2012
    Resident Researcher of the Year Award Stony Brook University 2011
    Resident Teacher of the Year Award Stony Brook University 2009
    • Nagaraja S, VITANZA NA, Woo PJ, Taylor KR, Lui F, Li M, Meng W, Pnnuswami A, Sun W, Ma J, Halleman E, Swigut T, Wysocka J, Tang Y, Monje M
      Transcriptional Dependencies in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
      Cancer Cell , 2017 Apr, 20
    • Vitanza NA, Fisher PG, Monje M.
      Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
      Swaiman's Pediatric Neurology: Principles and Practice 6th Edition , 2017
    • Vitanza NA, Fisher PG, Campen CJ
      Epidemiology of Central Nervous System Tumors
      Brain Tumors in Children 1st Edition , 2017
      50 Years Ago in TheJournal ofPediatrics: Induction of Remission in Acute Leukemia of Childhood by Combination of Prednisone and Either 6-Mercaptopurine or Methotrexate.
      27234282 The Journal of pediatrics , 2016 June : 173100
    • VITANZA NA, Shaw TM, Gardner SL, Allen JC, Harter DH, Karajannis MA
      Noncarboplatin-induced Sensorineural Hearing Loss in a Patient With an Intracranial Nongerminomatous Germ Cell Tumor
      23652864 : 38(4)312-6
    • VITANZA NA, Cho YJ
      Advances in the biology and treatment of pediatric central nervous system tumors.
      26709691 Current opinion in pediatrics , 2016 Feb. : 28(1)34-9
    • VITANZA NA, Partap S
      Pediatric Ependymoma.
      26503805 J Child Neurol , 2015 Oct. 26
    • VITANZA NA, Hogan LE, Zhang G, Parker RI
      The Progression of Bone Mineral Density Abnormalities After Chemotherapy for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
      25222061 J Pediatr Hematol Oncol , 2015 July : 37(5)356-61
      50 Years Ago in The Journal of Pediatrics: A Long-Term Study of Cerebrospinal Leukemia.
      26117636 J Pediatr , 2015 July : 167(1)80
    • VITANZA NA, Zaky W, Blum R, Meyer JA, Wang J, Bhatla T, Morrison DJ, Raetz EA, Carroll WL
      Ikaros deletions in BCR-ABL-negative childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia are associated with a distinct gene expression signature but do not result in intrinsic chemoresistance
      24976218 Pediatr Blood Cancer , 2014 Oct. : 61(10)1779-85.
    • Bhatla T, Jones CL, Meyer JA, VITANZA NA, Raetz EA, Carroll WL
      The biology of relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia: opportunities for therapeutic interventions
      24942023 : 36(6)413-8.

  • Grant Title Grantor Amount Award Date
    McKenna Claire Foundation for Pediatric Brain Cancer Research Award McKenna Claire Foundation Jan. 1, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018
    American Society of Hematology Research Training Award American Society of Hematology July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014


Board Certification(s)

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

Medical/Professional School

American University of the Caribbean, St. Maarten


Pediatrics, Stony Brook School of Medicine, Stony Brook


Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York
Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, Stanford University, Palo Alto

Clinical Interests

Brain and spinal cord tumors of childhood

Research Description

My basic science research has aimed to evaluate new, targeted drugs against pediatric cancers, including the use of combined molecularly-targeted agents against diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). My focus is to translate this work into new treatment options for children with brain and spinal cord tumors.