Treatments and Services
Brain Tumor Program
What is the Brain Tumor Program?
The compassionate experts at Seattle Children’s Brain Tumor Program care for children, teens and young adults who have tumors in their brain or spinal cord.
- We treat all types of brain and spinal cord tumors, both benign and malignant.
- We take care of your child from diagnosis through all phases of treatment and follow-up survivor care.
- Our doctors lead national and international research to understand what causes these tumors, increase cure rates and reduce side effects of therapy.
What’s special about the Brain Tumor Program at Seattle Children’s?
- Our 5-year survival rates have been higher than the national average for more than 20 years.
- We are the largest brain tumor center for children in the Northwest. Our program is one of the busiest in the country.
- For more than a decade, U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked Seattle Children's Cancer Center #1 in the Northwest, and among the best in the nation.
- At Seattle Children’s, your child will receive the most advanced care. This includes access to advanced neurosurgery, proton radiation therapy and clinical trials offering promising new treatments.
- Our pediatric neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists and radiation oncologist all have focused training and years of experience in pediatric brain tumors well beyond the requirements of board certification. We work together every day to provide the best surgical and medical care for your child.
- Seattle Children’s is the largest pediatric neurosciences center in the Pacific Northwest.
- Our Brain Tumor Team is experienced with all types of brain and spinal cord tumors. Every year, we see more patients with a new diagnosis of pediatric brain or spinal cord tumor than any other hospital in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho or Oregon.
- Through our precision medicine program, we are always developing new clinical lab tests such as gene sequencing tests. We will give you all the information we can about your child’s tumor. We will also explain how the information may be used now or in the future.
- Our young patients have the option to take part in research as part of their medical treatment. Research studies of new drugs and other new treatments are called clinical or therapeutic trials.
- As national leaders in pediatric cancer research, we can offer our patients treatments that are not yet available at most centers. These early studies are especially important if your child’s tumor does not respond to the first treatment or returns after treatment.
- Seattle Children’s doctors and researchers are leaders in developing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapies to treat children and young adults with relapsed or refractory cancers. BrainChild-01 and -02 are phase 1 trials testing CAR T-cell therapy in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory brain and central nervous system (CNS) tumors that express the protein HER2 or EGFR.
- Seattle Children’s has more than a dozen clinical trials available to treat brain tumors. We can offer these through our involvement in cooperative groups such as Children’s Oncology Group (COG), Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC), the Phase 1 Consortium of COG and our own Center for Clinical and Translational Research
- We are a founding member of COG and PNOC.
To see if there is a clinical trial for your child’s type of tumor, email us or call us at 206-987-2106.
You can also search by diagnosis for many clinical trials available through Seattle Children’s and our partners:
- On our current research studies page
- On Fred Hutch’s clinical trials page
- On ClinicalTrials.gov. Read our guide about searching for trials on ClinicalTrials.gov (PDF).
- Once a week, the whole Brain Tumor team meets at our Brain Tumor Board meeting. We talk about each child’s case in great detail. We review all the information we have on your child. This includes health records, tests, images and pathology results. Combining our different skills lets us offer your child the safest and most effective treatment plan.
- We don’t just treat your child’s cancer. We care for their medical, physical, nutritional, hormonal, learning, emotional and comfort needs. We work hard to reduce any long-term impact cancer may have on your child. This team approach is called multidisciplinary care.
- Our specialists work together to coordinate care, often in group visits with you. That means one less thing for you to worry about.
- You know your child, teen or young adult best. We will discuss treatments in ways you can understand. We involve you and your child in every decision.
- We care for children and teens all day, every day — not just once in a while. This means everyone on our team has the experience and expertise that can make a real difference for your child.
- Our patients range in age from newborns up to age 30.
- We know teens and young adults with cancer have different challenges than children and older adults. Our Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program (AYA) focuses on their needs.
- AYA includes a team that helps teens and young adults protect their fertility if treatment may harm their ability to become parents.
- We are committed to your child’s overall health and well-being – during and after treatment.
- Long after the tumor is gone, a cancer doctor and nurse practitioner will check on your child’s health and watch for possible long-term side effects from treatment. We also suggest ways to stay healthy.
- Read more about our Cancer Survivor Program.
Who is on the Brain Tumor Team?
Professionals from many fields work together to plan and give care to our patients with brain or spinal cord tumors.
Many members of the team are international experts in treating childhood brain tumors. They lead national groups that study and treat these tumors.
All of our team members have extra training and years of experience in the special needs of children and adolescents.
Providers in the Brain Tumor Program include:
Our neuro-oncologists are doctors with subspecialty training in cancer and blood disorders. They focus on the care of children with brain tumors, both noncancerous and cancerous. They are leaders in brain tumor research and help set new standards to improve care.
Neurosurgeons specialize in surgery to treat conditions that affect the nerves, spinal cord and brain. Seattle Children’s is the leading pediatric neurosurgical center in the Pacific Northwest. Our surgeons have experience treating the types of tumors that affect young people. They give the special care children and teens need for the best possible outcome.
Our neurologist specializes in how brain tumors and treatment may affect the working of the nerves, spinal cord and brain (nervous system). This includes care for headaches or seizures.
Our rehabilitation medicine doctor helps your child regain strength and function after their illness and treatment.
Our nurse coordinator will be your main source of education about your child’s treatment. She coordinates care and eases communication within the team, including your child and family members.
- Stacey Leptich, RN
- Laura Nelson, RN
Our nurse practitioners are registered nurses (RNs) with advanced training and education.
Brain Tumor Nurse Practitioners
Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioners
Our skilled counselors give your family emotional support from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Social workers coordinate care between families, the community and the medical team. They will help your family get the resources you need.
- Kiandra Jacobsen, LICSW
Our dietitian will check your child’s diet. She suggests foods and other nutrition to promote their health and growth.
- Alix Strickland, RD
Our child life specialists work with you, your child and other family members. They help your family relieve tension and express concerns and fears. We want your family to feel more in control of your medical experience.
- Alicia Sevilla, MS, CCLS
- Erin Behen, MS, CCLS
Your family service coordinator tracks and schedules appointments. These may include clinic visits, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) appointments, lab visits, infusions and consultations.
- Ashlee Semo-Ilasa
To request that the Brain Tumor Board review your child’s case, please have your child’s doctor contact us. The whole Brain Tumor Team meets at our weekly Brain Tumor Board to review cases from around the world. Their feedback helps doctors and patients who would like a second opinion or are deciding whether to travel to Seattle for care.
You can contact the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at 206-987-2106 for an appointment, a second opinion or more information.
Schedule an appointment
- To make an appointment, you can call us directly or get a referral from your child’s primary care provider.
- We encourage you to coordinate with your pediatrician or family doctor when coming to Seattle Children's.
- How to schedule an appointment at Seattle Children’s.
- If you already have an appointment, learn more about how to prepare.
- Learn about resources such as useful websites, videos and recommended reading for you and your family.
- Providers, see how to refer a patient.