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Brain Tumor Program

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Program provides advanced treatment for brain and spinal cord tumors in a supportive environment. Our goal is to cure as many patients as possible, while providing all patients with the best possible care and quality of life.

In our program, a broad team of specialists coordinates care for every child. Many different types of doctors, including pediatric neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, rehabilitation medicine doctors and radiation oncologists work together to make a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Our team also includes psychologists, neuropsychologists, social workers, child life specialists and a school liaison specialist who can help families navigate the challenges of treatment while caring for their child's emotional and psychological health. We work closely with local and national organizations, support groups and community resources for children and their families.

Our neurologists and neurosurgeons are supported by advanced technologies that allow us to remove or destroy tumor tissue while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. For instance, using MRI scanning during surgery helps our surgeons safely remove as much of the tumor as possible. We are also one of only a few centers in California that offer a highly targeted form of radiation therapy using the Gamma Knife and CyberKnife.

We belong to several national research consortiums that are working to discover better and safer treatments for brain and spinal tumors in children. And because we are part of a leading medical research institution, our patients are among the first to benefit from new scientific findings and clinical trials

Our locations (2)

    Awards & recognition

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    • Best in Northern California for cancer care

    • One of the nation's best in neurology & neurosurgery

    • in NIH funding among U.S. neurology programs

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    For visitors

    Before you head to the hospital, check out our guidelines for visitors and caregivers.


    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

    Learn more

    Your Child's Care Team

    Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.

    Learn more

    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Learn more
    Decorative Caduceus

    A Single-Stage, Adaptive, Open-label, Dose Escalation Safety and Efficacy Study of AADC Deficie...

    Assessment of adverse events related to surgery (including intracerebral hemorrhage or stroke, CNS infection) and gene transfer (including severity of post-operative dyskinesia)


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    Genetically Modified Cells (KIND T Cells) for the Treatment of HLA-A*0201-Positive Patients Wit...

    MTD is defined as the dose at which fewer than one-third of participants experience a dose limiting toxicity (DLT) for all participants who received at least one study intervention.


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    BGB-290 and Temozolomide in Treating Isocitrate Dehydrogenase (IDH)1/2-Mutant Grade I-IV Glioma...

    Events occurring on or after treatment on Day 1 will be classified using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) v5.0. Adverse events leading to treatment discontinuation will be listed.


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    Nivolumab and DAY101 for Treatment of Craniopharyngioma in Children and Young Adults

    Progression-free survival is defined as the time of documented response until disease progression as defined by Response assessment in neuro-oncology criteria (RANO) criteria. PFS will be reported by overall group at 12 months.


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    ONC206 for Treatment of Newly Diagnosed, Recurrent Diffuse Midline Gliomas, and Other Recurrent...

    A DLT is defined as a treatment-related adverse event (AE) or abnormal laboratory value that occurs in the first cycle of treatment (Cycle 1 for Arm A and D; Cycle 0 for Arm B and C), meets criteria for DLT as outlined below and i...


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    Trametinib and Everolimus for Treatment of Pediatric and Young Adult Patients With Recurrent Gl...

    We will employ the Bayesian optimal interval (BOIN) design to find the MTD for both continuous and intermittent dosing schedules. The BOIN design is implemented in a simple way similar to the traditional 3+3 design, but is more fl...


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    Intra-Tumoral Injections of Natural Killer Cells for Recurrent Malignant Brain Tumors

    Adverse events and clinically significant laboratory abnormalities (meeting grade 3, 4, or 5 criteria according to NCI CTCAE) will be summarized by maximum intensity and relationship to study drug(s). Grade 1 and 2 adverse events ...


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    Individualized Treatment Plan in Children and Young Adults With Relapsed Medulloblastoma

    Time to tissue collection will be used to determine the feasibility of using the results of real-time in vitro drug screening, WES and RNAseq of participant-derived specimens to guide treatment recommendations by a specialized tum...


    More about this study
    Decorative Caduceus

    A Phase 2 Study of Sonodynamic Therapy Using SONALA-001 and Exablate 4000 Type 2.0 in Patients ...

    Safety and tolerability as assessed by the frequency and severity of dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), AEs, laboratory and ECG tests, vital signs, weight, physical and neurological exams.


    More about this study
    See all clinical trials

    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.


    Beads of Courage

    We help children cope with cancer testing and treatment challenges by awarding colorful beads for each milestone they achieve. Find out about our program.


    Camp Okizu

    This overnight summer camp for children with cancer, siblings and families offers fun activities, education sessions and support in a beautiful setting.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.


    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.


    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


    School Re-Entry Program

    We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.


    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.


    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Our research initiatives

    • Pediatric Brain Tumor Research

    • ucsf-brain-tumor-center-clinical-trials-2x

      UCSF Brain Tumor Center Clinical Trials

    • ucsf-childrens-cancer-program-clinical-trials-2x

      UCSF Children's Cancer Program Clinical Trials

    Smell the roses

    Wander outside into our Butterfly Garden in Oakland and our healing gardens at Mission Bay.