Cancer and Blood Diseases Center
Advanced therapies and high-tech resources
A great benefit of coming to Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center is gaining access to the combined resources of both a renowned cancer treatment and research institution and a top children’s hospital. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston are always updating their treatment facilities and investing in new high-tech resources, which help us to better diagnose, evaluate and treat of all forms of childhood cancer and blood diseases. Advancements in areas such as pathology and interventional radiology also help us reduce some of the physical and psychological aspects of treatment.
Several of our treatments and high-tech resources are offered only at our center in Boston:
- Therapeutic I-131 MIBG is a special treatment for children with refractory or relapsed neuroblastoma. We’re one of only a handful of centers in the United States using a very high dose of radioactive material to deliver targeted radiation to neuroblastoma cells. Children receiving this treatment must stay in a special protective room at Children’s. In clinical trials I-131 MIBG therapy resulted in an improved quality of life, less time spent in the hospital and improved pain management for eligible children.
- Pediatric stem cell transplantation is a treatment for certain types of blood diseases, cancers and immunodeficiencies. Our pediatric stem cell transplantation team, one of the most experienced in the United States, performs more than 80 transplants each year for children in our special HEPA-filtered unit. We’re the largest transplant center in New England, supported by all of the pediatric subspecialists at Children’s. If your child needs an unrelated donor, we coordinate a search with our on-site National Marrow Donor Program office, and we hold a monthly Graft-versus-Host Disease follow-up clinic to manage any lasting effects of transplantation.
- Children with brain tumors often need surgery as part of their treatment. At Children’s, our pediatric neurosurgeons use an intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine to guide surgeries, ensuring that they remove as much of the tumor as possible, while sparing healthy brain tissue. For many children, this means fewer surgeries and a better outcome.
- Clinical trials offer options when traditional treatments don’t work. Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center doctors offer more Phase I clinical trials than any other center in New England, including many that are unique to our center. Our clinical trial program is fueled by the Clinical and Translational Investigator Program (CTIP), which links our basic science researchers and doctors. Through two-way communication, they quickly develop new therapeutic approaches from laboratory discoveries, as well as use clinical observations to develop new areas of basic science investigation.
- Diagnostic imaging tests are important before, during and after treatment. Children’s has many types of imaging machines, including a dedicated pediatric Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner. With expert pediatric imaging specialists, our doctors use these scans to diagnose, stage, monitor response to treatment, and conduct follow-up exams for many types of childhood cancer. They can also use advanced image processing to capture several images at the same time to reduce overall radiation exposure.
- For Fanconi anemia, advanced genetic testing at Children’s CAP/CLIA-certified laboratory and DEB testing and retrovirus complementation analysis at Dana-Farber guide our team in making the best treatment decisions.