With a focus on the expert care of pediatric patients with brain tumors, spinal tumors or neurofibromatosis (NF), our young patients have access to neuro-oncology specialists for every aspect care based on their individual needs. At Arkansas Children’s, we have the only team of pediatric neuro-oncology specialists in the state, and we offer expert care for a range of brain and spinal issues and conditions. In a kid-friendly environment with all areas of care under one roof, our team is here to help your child through all phases of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

Medical Director

Arkansas Children’s Brain Tumor Program provides comprehensive care for children of all ages that are affected by a range of brain and spinal tumors, including:

Possible Conditions

  • Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT)
  • Brainstem tumors, including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) and other lower grade tumors
  • Choroid Plexus tumors
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Ependymoma
  • Germinoma and other germ cell tumors of the brainHigh-grade gliomas, including glioblastoma
  • Low-grade gliomas, including pilocytic astrocytomas and optic pathway tumors
  • Medulloblastoma and Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors (PNETs)
  • Meningiomas
  • Mixed glioneuronal tumors, such as gangliogliomas
  • Spinal cord tumors
  • Tumors associated with Neurofibromatosis Types 1 and 2, including plexiform neurofibromas and schwannomas
  • Tumors associated with Tuberous Sclerosis, including Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytomas (SEGAs)

Meet the Team

By bringing together a team of specialists across a range of pediatric clinical expertise, brain tumor care at Arkansas Children’s is comprehensive, considering every aspect of clinical needs for brain tumor patients for children of any age. This multidisciplinary approach allows for the best decision - made with the experience of an entire team of experts.

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Refer a Patient to the Brain Tumor Program

At Arkansas Children’s, we value the knowledge and experience of a child’s primary care physician and we are honored to partner with referring physicians for the most optimal care of your patients. We welcome the opportunity to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of brain tumors, spinal tumors or neurofibromatosis.

We are devoted entirely to the care of children and understand how their care decisions are impacted by their personal stage of growth and development. Our goal is to help each child, at any age, get better today and have a healthier tomorrow.

The Brain Tumor Program accepts patients through a physician referral. If you would like to learn more about our services for brain tumors, spinal tumors or neurofibromatosis, please contact Lora Parker BSN, RN, CPHON at parkerls@archildrens.org or 501-364-2934

Locations

Our expert pediatric neurosurgical team uses advanced technology for diagnosis and innovative techniques for the treatment of brain and spinal tumors. Innovations such as the non-invasive brain mapping technology called magnetoencephalography (MEG), helps us evaluate brain activity and mapping before brain tumor surgery. As a dedicated children’s hospital, all aspects of our care are focused on children. Our team knows how every step of care must be tailored to each individual patient – based on their unique phases of growth and development. Our Brain Tumor Program team reviews every single patient together to monitor progress and make decisions as a team – using the experience and expertise of each team member.

Advanced Technology for Diagnostic Imaging Services

With access to all of the advanced technology resources at Arkansas Children’s, our patients are able to schedule any diagnostic tests or services in the same building as our brain and spine tumor specialists. With magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), our specialists are able to accurately diagnose and then regularly monitor tumor activity.

Specialized Care for Neurofibromatosis

Our specialized Neurofibromatosis (NF) Clinic offers expertise for the diagnosis and treatment of patients of all ages with neurofibromatosis, including NF1, NF2, and schwannomatosis. Our team of pediatric specialists works together for personalized care plans, including short and long-term monitoring. By working with a team that is focused on neurofibromatosis specific aspects of care, including clinical trials, your child will benefit from our team’s unique experience and expertise.

Because neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder, Arkansas Children’s also provides genetic counseling and support for parents as they better understand how neurofibromatosis can affect family decisions.

Arkansas Children’s offers numerous clinical trials for our patients with brain and spine tumors through several national and international affiliations. Our Experimental Therapeutics Program provides new and innovative treatments or therapies. If you have any questions or need more information about whether one of these clinical trials may be available for your child, please contact Catherine Redinger BSN, RN, CPHON at redingercatherinel@uams.edu or 501-364-4290.

We offer new techniques and clinical trials, unique to specific tumors we treat, for an aggressive path of care – providing the skill and experience necessary for the most complex cases. New therapies may be available through our Experimental Therapeutics Program, including:

  • Young Children (less than age 10) with Medulloblastoma or PNET at Diagnosis: Head Start 4 sponsored by the NEXT Consortium - to Clinical and Molecular Risk-Tailored Intensive and Compressed Induction Chemotherapy Followed by Consolidation with Either Single Cycle (low risk patients) OR Randomization (high risk patients) to Either Single-Cycle or to Three Tandem CYCLES OF Marrow-Ablaytive Chemotherapy with Autologous Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Rescue
  • Ependymoma at Initial Diagnosis (Study ACNS0831) sponsored by the Children's Oncology Group (COG) - a Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Post-Radiation Chemotherapy in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Ependymoma Ages 1 to 21 years
  • Medulloblastoma with WNT pathway Subgroup at Initial Diagnosis (Study ACNS 1422) sponsored by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) A Phase 2 Study of Reduced Therapy for Newly Diagnosed Average-Risk WNT-Driven Medulloblastoma Patients
  • Pediatric MATCH Study (Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice, Study PEC1621) sponsored by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) A Study of Molecularly-Guided Therapy for Recurrent or Refractory Malignant Brain Tumors
  • Children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) and a Newly Diagnosed Optic Pathway Tumor (Study Developing Evidence-Based Criteria for Initiating Treatment for Neurofibromatosis Type 1 Associated Optic Pathway Glioma) sponsored by Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) to Follow Patients with Newly Diagnosed Optic Pathway Tumors to Establish the Natural History and Evaluate MRI and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Techniques in the Evaluation of These Patients
  • Relapsed or Refractory Medulloblastoma (Study ONC-403-001) sponsored by Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) - a Phase 1 Study of TB-403 (a Humanized Monoclonal Antibody Against Placental Growth Factor (PlGF)) in Pediatric Subjects with Relapsed or Refractory Medulloblastoma
  • The pan-ERBB inhibitor Neratinib in Previously Treated Solid and Brain Tumors sponsored by Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators' Consortium (POETIC) – a Phase I Study for recurrent or refractory solid brain tumors including:
    • All malignant brain tumors at recurrence or disease progression
  • MEK Inhibitor Cobimetnib in Previously Treated Solid Tumors (Study G029665) sponsored by Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators' Consortium (POETIC) – a Phase 2 Study for Low-Grade Gliomas

In addition to the expert care of our entire clinical team, your child will receive care from the Arkansas Children’s support team – such as Child Life Specialists and oncology-specific social workers, counselors, and therapists. These team members help both patients and families cope with all aspects of care management and daily living - keeping life as normal as possible for our young patients, including:

  • Help understanding medical terminology
  • Provide knowledge of procedures or treatments
  • Offer coping strategies
  • Provide emotional support
  • Help express anxieties or concerns

Resources for Families Coping with Brain Tumors

Our team knows that when your child is affected by a serious condition such as a brain tumor, support resources can be very helpful with the ability to cope through all phases of care. Arkansas Children’s provides help through our team members’ vast experience and expertise with serious health conditions as well as national resources that provide guidance and support. 

Educational Resources for Patient and Family Support

  • American Brain Tumor Association – Provides helpful information, including a brain tumor dictionary, information for newly diagnosed patients and the ability to find or become a mentor
  • Caregiver Resource Center of the American Brain Tumor Association – Includes information about caregivers, the impact on the family and specifics to help children, teens and families cope
  • Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation - Provides a list of organizations and government-funded programs that offer information and support for families dealing with cancer, including medical equipment coverage
  • Pediatric Brain Tumor Association – Through a community of dedicated individuals and programs, support is available for camps and clinical trials as well as advocacy and college scholarships
  • National Brain Tumor Society – News, blog, fact sheets and press releases on relevant and current information about brain tumors
  • A Kids’ Brain Tumor Cure – Including childhood brain tumor information, including brain tumor research, news, and resources
  • Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States – A resource for statistical data on all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors, this registry represents the largest aggregation of population-based data
  • DIPG Registry - a collaborative effort by physicians and researchers from North America, Europe, and Australia to centralize and standardize the collection of clinical data and tumor samples from DIPG patients. 

Financial Assistance Resources Available

  • Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation – Also known as Frankie's Mission, confidential applications for general assistance such as transportation, housing, medication, insurance premiums and other needs
  • Friends 4 Michael Foundation – Provides supplementary financial assistance to families, guardians or caregivers with financial needs resulting from expenses associated with the child’s brain tumor treatment
  • Iron Matt Foundation – Provides the opportunity for direct financial assistance to families regardless of their socio-economic status, the type of brain tumor (malignant or not) or the progress of the disease 
  • Mission 4 Maureen - Brain tumor patients from all 50 states across the USA may apply for assistance in paying bills on behalf of qualified patients and their families
  • Tug McGraw Foundation – Advancing science and partnerships to promote brain health and improve the quality of life for any affected by brain cancer or brain trauma. 

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