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Pediatric Neurological Surgery Program: Brain Tumor
Home > Patient Care > Pediatric Neurological Surgery Program: Brain Tumor

A major focus of UCSF's Brain Tumor Center is caring for children who have a brain tumor. Dr. Mitchel Berger, Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery and Director of the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center, and Dr. Nalin Gupta, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, are experienced specialists in treating the brain tumors that affect children. Both Dr. Berger and Dr. Gupta have had fellowship training in pediatric neurological surgery in addition to their residency training in neurological surgery. Dr. Berger has also had fellowship training in neuro-oncology.
Surgery is the first step in the treatment of brain tumors for both children and adults. Many advanced imaging techniques are used at UCSF during the pre-operative evaluation. These techniques identify the exact anatomical location of the tumor, the blood supply, and the metabolic activity of different tissues within the tumor. During surgery to resect brain tumors, Drs. Berger and Gupta use brain-mapping techniques to identify and avoid injury to vital sites of language, motor, and sensory function. By identifying those areas, they can remove tumor and focal points of epileptic activity to the maximum extent possible, while minimizing injury to the surrounding brain. UCSF's Brain Tumor Center also has the most advanced surgical navigation systems available, which permit the greatest precision in tumor resection. To obtain even greater precision in localizing a tumor, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can be performed during surgery to actively evaluate the extent of the remaining tumor.
After surgery, children with a brain tumor may need radiation therapy or chemotherapy. In conjunction with neurosurgical care, the Brain Tumor Center provides patients with the most advanced neuro-oncology therapies available for brain tumors, together with neuropsychological consultation, palliative care, and close ties with organizations sponsoring support groups and many other resources for patients with brain tumors. Associated with the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center-a designated research center of the National Cancer Institute-the Clinical Neuro-Oncology Program offers clinical trials of promising new brain tumor therapies.
UCSF is one of ten institutions in the United States selected to participate in the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium for clinical trials, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. This consortium of nine medical research institutions-the first of its kind in the United States-is funded by the National Institutes of Health with the goal of developing effective new strategies for treating children with malignant brain tumors. Dr. Michael Prados is principal investigator of this Consortium site at UCSF.
UCSF also participates in the Children's Oncology Group (COG), a unified cooperative group combining the efforts of the major pediatric clinical trials groups based in North America-the Children's Cancer Group (CCG), the Pediatric Oncology Group (POG), the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group (IRSG) and the National Wilms' Tumor Study Group (NWTSG)-to accelerate the search for a cure and prevention of cancer in children and adolescents.
Participation in national cooperative clinical trials like these ensures patients that UCSF's Brain Tumor Center consistently has access to the latest techniques and the newest concepts in treatment for tumors of the brain and spinal cord.
More about:
Clinical Trials for Children with Brain Tumors
Neurosurgical Care at UCSF Children's Hospital

Research on Pediatric Brain Tumors at UCSF
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