Children's Hospital Colorado

The Neuro-Oncology Program for Children with Central Nervous System (Brain or Spinal Cord) Tumors

A close-up view of an IV inserted into a baby's arm that's wearing lime green bandages Best Children's Hospital by US News Cancer 2020-1 Badge

About the Neuro-Oncology Program

If your child has been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor, the experts in our Neuro-Oncology Program are here for your child and your family. Our team delivers optimal treatment and kid-friendly care, with the goal of preserving and improving your child’s quality of life.

Why choose us for brain tumor care

Our program is one of the largest neuro-oncology programs in the nation. We treat patients from birth into young adulthood. In addition to caring for children who have tumors with proven treatment protocols, our pediatric neuro-oncologists are leaders in using research to help identify potential new neuro-oncology therapies. We then help evaluate those therapies through clinical trials.

We’re comprised of experts from Children’s Colorado’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and Neuroscience Institute – both of which are consistently ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Our multidisciplinary team of experts

Our team works together to ensure they are creating and implementing the best treatment plan possible for your child. Our core team of pediatric-trained specialists includes:

  • Neuro-oncologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Neuropathologists
  • Neuroradiologists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse care coordinators

In addition to the core neuro-oncology team members, we also work with specialists from:

Each of these teams helps enhance the experience of our patients and their families. They help our team identify and treat complications of the diseases and optimize our patients’ quality of life. We also conduct a multidisciplinary clinic several times per month that brings many of these providers together in a single location to serve our patients with complex needs better.

Care and support for the whole family

We understand that a brain or spinal cord tumor diagnosis doesn’t just affect the patient – it impacts the whole family. That’s why we have the following support services to help families at all stages of the disease journey, from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up.

  • Outpatient chemotherapy infusions and outpatient bone marrow transplants for certain brain tumors, which means more time at home and less time in the hospital for your child
  • Patient and family education tools to help you better understand your child’s diagnosis
  • In-person and video interpreter services
  • A Wellness Program to support families and children being treated at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders with mental health services and travel, financial and temporary housing assistance
  • Researchers working to understand supportive care, nutrition, creative arts therapy, quality of life and cognitive changes associated with brain tumors; knowledge gained from this research helps our team understand what your child needs to feel better during this difficult treatment
  • Genetic counselors who help to evaluate if patients have a predisposition to cancer

Innovative therapies and convenient outpatient care

Our team is committed to identifying better and safer treatments for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. We conduct cutting-edge testing of the tumors, which helps our experts to individualize therapy for our patients. We offer access to a large number of clinical trials for patients who may qualify. A clinical trial is a formal process for testing a new method to treat a disease. Through clinical trials, we can offer patients the most current and effective treatments available.

For children with brain or spinal cord tumors that do not respond to standard treatments, we can also offer access to many early phase clinical trials through our Experimental Therapeutics Program.

Learn how we're pushing the boundaries of neuro-oncology research in the video below.

A team of neuro-oncology researchers creating new treatment options

Our neuro-oncology doctors and advanced practice providers are leading researchers in their field.

  • The Morgan Adams Foundation Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Program includes eight independent well-funded laboratories focused on improving understanding and treatment of pediatric brain and spine tumors.
  • Through the creation of a large bank of pediatric brain and spinal cord tumor samples, which have been shared with other researchers across the globe, we consistently contribute to the international pediatric neuro-oncology communities’ pursuits of cures for all types of brain and spinal cord tumors.
  • We hosted the 2018 International Symposium of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO) in Denver, which is a conference that brings together experts around the world to share discoveries and establish research collaborations.
  • We’re members of the Advancing Treatment for Pediatric Craniopharyngioma Consortium (ATPC), North America’s first multicenter consortium dedicated exclusively to the discovery and testing of novel therapies for children with adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma (ACP). The goal is to offer new therapies that will improve the quality of life for children with ACP.
  • We're part of a select group of institutions that are members of multiple consortia focused on clinical trials. Our team’s research has provided evidence for more than five clinical trials that are currently recruiting patients or are in development.

Contact the Neuro-Oncology Program

For appointments, please call 720-777-6740.

Cartoon image of a patient and doctor having a telehealth call.

Keeping you safe, wherever you are

We're here when you need us with the same safe, high-quality care we've always offered, even during the pandemic. Now, in many cases, you can get that care without even leaving home because we offer virtual visits across every one of our specialties.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Michael Handler, MD

Michael Handler, MD

Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery - Pediatric

Molly Hemenway, NP, PNP, MS

Molly Hemenway, NP, PNP, MS

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Rajeev Vibhakar, MD, PhD, MPH/MSPH

Rajeev Vibhakar, MD, PhD, MPH/MSPH

Hematology/Oncology - Pediatric

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Anandani Nellan, MD, MPH

Anandani Nellan, MD, MPH

Hematology/Oncology - Pediatric, Pediatrics