St. Louis Children’s Hospital has access to the latest therapeutic options and has the most advanced technology available to treat childhood cancers. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or various combinations are typical options. Others include:
- New Therapeutic Agents: With the expertise of its physicians and medical staff, young patients at St. Louis Children's Hospital will benefit from the newest drugs and therapies available for children with cancer. Physicians work directly with patients and families to identify any beneficial treatment options and resources to battle malignancies.
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): For patients with larger tumors, IMRT capitalizes on our program's use of modern imaging technology to allow our radiation oncologist to provide optimal treatment of the tumor while minimizing the damage of adjacent structures. This will ensure that the side-effects of radiation to the brain that can lead to significant disabilities will be minimized.
- Gamma Knife: For children with small inoperable brain tumors, St. Louis Children’s Hospital offers state-of-the-art stereotactic radiosurgery in its Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Center. A minimally invasive treatment option, the Gamma Knife allows children to receive ultra-precise amounts of radiation in specifically targeted areas of the brain.
- Proton beam therapy: Proton beam therapy is a highly accurate form of radiation therapy used to treat tumors near vital organs like the spine, brain, heart and eye in adult and pediatric patients. Protons target tumors with greater precision because the depth of the radiation can be adjusted, thus avoiding exposing other organs and healthy tissue.
- Intraoperative MRI: This technology is available for intraoperative imaging for patients with central nervous system tumors. It provides neurosurgeons the capability of real-time visualization during surgery for the removal of tumors. With an IMRI, neurosurgeons remove the tumor, then stop the operation to acquire MRI images while the patient is still asleep. Using computer guidance along with IMRI, neurosurgeons then remove any remaining tumor that is safely accessible. This device is a major advance in the surgical treatment of pediatric brain tumors, and St. Louis Children's Hospital is one of only a few children's hospitals in the nation where this device is available.
- Bone Marrow Transplantation: The first such program in the state of Missouri, the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program offers the most advanced therapies for high dose therapy and autologous stem cell rescue. New strategies have been developed specifically for pediatric neuro-oncology patients to optimize control of the patient’s disease.