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Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center


The Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center at Cohen Children's Medical Center is committed to providing comprehensive, innovative, state of the art care for children diagnosed with tumors of the nervous system. Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to treating the broad spectrum of benign, malignant, primary and metastatic tumors in young patients whose bodies and brains are still developing.

About Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors
Tumors of the nervous system are abnormal growths of cells found within the brain or spinal cord. The causes of these tumors are not known, and there are many different types of nervous system growths, which may be benign or malignant. Some tumors arise from the brain while others, from the spinal cord. Astrocytomas, brainstem gliomas, ependymomas, oligodendrogliomas, meningiomas, medulloblastomas, schwannomas, craniopharyngiomas, germ-cell tumors, and pineal region tumors are some of the lesions we routinely treat.

Our Team
Childhood brain and spinal cord tumors present a complex challenge for physicians, families and patients. A dedicated, interactive team of medical specialists, clinical researchers and a professional support team meet this challenge. Our dedicated pediatric neuro-oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, radiation oncologists, social workers, psychologists, neuro-psychologists, educational specialists and nutritionists represent only a fraction of the sub-specialists involved in the care of children with tumors of the nervous system. Our multidisciplinary Brain & Spinal Cord Tumor Board meets every Tuesday during which patient's care is carefully reviewed by the entire team.

Our pediatric neuro-oncologists provide expertise and guidance in the overall care of children with brain and spinal cord tumors.  They directly supervise the administration of chemotherapy, and spearhead our clinical research program.  Dr. Mark Atlas and Dr. Arlene Redner have many years experience in treating brain and spinal cord tumors.  Both physicians have an experienced and motivated team working alongside them to make families and children feel comfortable during regular appointments and treatments.

Our pediatric neurologists are experts at assessing the function of the developing brain and spinal cord and direct medical management of associated neurological abnormalities, including seizures.  Obtaining a neurological exam on a child can be challenging, but with many years of experience and patience, Dr. Joseph Maytal and Dr. Li Kan successfully manage a full evaluation.

Our pediatric neurosurgeons combine technical expertise with compassionate care.  The pediatric neurosurgical team is led by Dr. Steven Schneider and Dr. Mark Mittler.  Together, with a group of caring and experienced residents, physician assistants and registered nurses, they provide comprehensive, child-friendly care.  The team is experienced in treating children of all ages before and after surgery.  If your child requires a surgical procedure, it is performed in state-of-the-art facilities with trained professionals, to allow the most complex operations to be performed safely. 

Minimally invasive, computer assisted and endoscopic techniques are frequently used to your child’s advantage.  Intra-operative MRI is available as needed.  Children are carefully monitored by our certified pediatric anesthesiologists in the operating room.  After surgery, children are cared for in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit by board certified intensivists and certified critical care nurses. 

Our neuroradiologists are experts at evaluating the brain and spinal cord with a complex array of technologies including CT, MRI, spectroscopy, angiography and PET scanning.  Every Tuesday they participate in our Pediatric Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Board with the rest of the team members.  Dr. Alan Johnson, Dr. Craig Warshall and Dr. Vinh Nguyen are available to review studies done in or outside of the hospital with the other team members, to ensure proper diagnosis and care.

Our pediatric radiation oncologists specialize in providing direct radiation to tumors within the nervous system while protecting sensitive normal surrounding structures from receiving detrimental radiation exposure.  Our radiation oncology team, led by Dr. Jana Fox with Dr Beatrice Bloom, has vast experience with the cutting edge techniques of Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and radiosurgery. 

Our pediatric social workers are experienced professionals who specialize in pediatric care.  They provide emotional support, counseling and resources to patients and family members through hospitalizations, diagnosis, treatment, recovery and advanced illness.  Our social workers assist with school advocacy, parenting concerns, financial coverage, family stresses and provide referrals to various community resources.  Lauren Juzwin, LMSW is dedicated to helping families meet any needs that may arise throughout the course of a child’s diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Our pediatric psychologists are on hand to provide psychological services to patients and their families throughout all phases of diagnosis and treatment.  Dr. Meg O’Shea-Tippy and her team specialize in children and families fighting cancer.  They deliver individual and family therapy to help address their emotional needs and help to build a support network for the years to come.

Our pediatric neuro-psychologists are dedicated to the evaluation of patients with childhood brain and spinal cord tumors.  Having a neuropsychologist as part of our faculty provides rapid evaluation of our patients.  This leads to prompt interventions (usually in school) to help our children overcome any disabilities associated with brain tumors.

Our Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center coordinator, Alyssa Quinlan, PA-C, is experienced as a physician assistant, making it easy to identify clinical needs in addition to social needs.  She provides an infrastructure to improve the care and efficiency of the team.  Alyssa is a point person for physicians and patient families, which ensures a smooth line of communication.  She assists families in making appointments and keeping track of them. The Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center is coordinated so that the multiple medical needs of the children are met within one appointment.

Our Child Life Team members offer therapeutic play and activities that identify and meet the emotional and developmental needs of hospitalized and chronically ill children.  Child Life Specialists work closely with children and their families to help make the stressful hospital experience more positive.

Other essential members of our team include pediatric ophthalmologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, endocrinologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, radiology technicians and administration.

Pediatric Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Board    
Our multidisciplinary Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Board meets every Tuesday.  This meeting gives the entire team an opportunity to review new patient cases and the progress of current patients to determine the best course of treatment.  Bringing the entire specialty team together to review each case, results in an optimal treatment plan for the patient as well as a smooth line of communication between medical providers.

Pediatric Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Clinic  
The Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Clinic is a unique program that provides a comprehensive approach to medical treatment.  When a clinic appointment is made, all of the specialists necessary to the patient’s care are present to follow up with the patients, and their families.  This program eliminates the need for patients to schedule multiple visits to different specialties.

How to Contact Us

For suspected or newly diagnosed tumors, routine referrals, consultation or second opinions call:

Alyssa Quinlan, PA-C
Coordinator, Childhood Brain and Spinal Cord Tumor Center

Mark Atlas, MD
Chair, Childhood Brain & Spinal Cord Tumor Center
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Arlene Redner, MD
Co-Chair, Childhood Brain & Spinal Cord Tumor Center
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Support for Patients, Caregivers, and Siblings
Lauren Juzwin, LCSW, (718) 470-3442
Social Worker, Childhood Brain & Spinal Cord Tumor Center


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