Neuroblastoma Program

Learning your child has neuroblastoma can leave you feeling anxious about the future. When you choose Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the future looks bright.

Your child receives care from a team with an international reputation for neuroblastoma innovation. A close partnership between our researchers and doctors speeds access to new therapies. Even if the cancer comes back after treatment, we can help. Our team is making it possible for more children to start kindergarten, graduate high school and dream big.

Neuroblastoma in Children: Why Choose Us

Your child receives care from pediatric oncologists specializing in neuroblastoma and a program that’s been a world leader for decades. This level of care draws patients from across the United States and other countries.

Our program, part of CHLA’s renowned Cancer and Blood Disease Institute, offers:

  • Personalized care: We tailor therapies to your child’s needs, helping avoid strong treatments if they aren’t necessary. For non-high-risk neuroblastoma, mild therapies may be all that’s necessary to halt cancer cell growth. High-risk neuroblastoma typically requires a combination of several therapies, such as chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplant, radiation, immunotherapy and other innovative medical therapies. Discover Ella’s patient story to see how our team provides a personalized approach.
  • State-of-the-art imaging: Our center offers high-quality imaging specifically designed for neuroblastoma. We combine MIBG and CT scans for better visualization of the tumor.
  • MIBG therapy: This innovative radiation therapy is delivered through IV infusion to target cancer cells throughout the body. MIBG therapy offers better outcomes for children with relapsing or difficult-to-treat neuroblastoma. CHLA is one of the few programs in the Western U.S. offering MIBG therapy for neuroblastoma.
  • Early-phase clinical trials: Our neuroblastoma research leadership provides access to new medications before they are widely available. These drugs are in the early phases of development and give your child additional options if standard therapies don’t work. Explore our research and clinical trials.
  • Support: Nurses and social workers are here for you at every turn. Nurses help coordinate care and answer questions between appointments. Social workers help you address challenges related to your child’s care and provide emotional support. Find out more about our Survivorship and Supportive Care Program.
  • Family involvement: We are grateful for and responsive to the input of our patients’ families. These family members guide education and support efforts that make living with a child’s neuroblastoma diagnosis a little easier.

What Is Neuroblastoma?

This rare cancer starts in nerve cells (neuroblasts) in different areas of the body. Neuroblastoma typically affects younger children. Treatment varies based on risk group:

  • High-risk neuroblastoma may not respond to initial treatment and has a greater chance of coming back after treatment. Children in this risk group need aggressive treatments that require careful management.
  • Non-high-risk neuroblastoma is typically responsive to treatment and not likely to come back. Children in this risk group often do well with less intense treatments.

Neuroblastoma Services

The tests, treatments and services your child needs depend on the specific diagnosis and may include:

  • Iodine-123 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scan: This high-resolution imaging scan uses safe levels of a radioactive substance, MIBG, to determine the cancer’s severity.
  • Genomic testing: We identify specific changes (mutations) in the cancer cells. This information helps your child receive the therapies that are most effective in stopping the cancer from growing.
  • Radiation oncology: Highly skilled radiation oncologists treat cancer using high-energy X-rays and other techniques.
  • MIBG therapy: This targeted radiation therapy combines MIBG and radioactive iodine. The MIBG attaches to neuroblastoma cells and the iodine destroys the cancer cells.
  • Stem cell transplantation: This treatment delivers healthy blood-producing (stem) cells. Find out more about Transplantation and Cellular Therapy.
  • Surgery: Your child receives care from doctors with expertise in pediatric surgical oncology and neuroblastoma. These doctors specialize in safely removing neuroblastoma tumors that are difficult to remove.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment helps the body’s own immune cells fight the tumor. We offer a range of immunotherapy options for neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma Research and Innovation

Our team is uncovering promising new care methods for neuroblastoma, including more options for high-risk neuroblastoma. Many of the experts treating your child are also leading this research. This overlap enables us to quickly translate scientific discovery into innovative therapies.

CHLA is home to the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) Research Consortium for high-risk neuroblastoma. This group of pediatric cancer centers represents places with specific neuroblastoma expertise where you’ll find early-phase clinical trials solely focused on neuroblastoma.

Second Opinions and Virtual Care Management for Neuroblastoma

If you live outside the L.A. area, your child can still benefit from CHLA’s world-class expertise. These services are especially helpful to children with high-risk neuroblastoma. We welcome inquiries for any concern.

We can help in many ways, including:

  • Second opinions: If you have questions about your child’s diagnosis or treatment plan, we perform an exam and review previous treatments, test results and response to therapies. This information helps us confirm or rule out neuroblastoma and recommend treatments that are best for your child. Second opinions sometimes require an in-person office visit but can also occur virtually.
  • Virtual care management: Children needing chemotherapy and other medical therapies can receive care closer to home if appropriate. We communicate with oncologists in your area to guide these efforts. Regular monitoring from our team can also take place virtually. Your child receives testing at a local facility, and we review the results during a virtual visit.  

Oncology Care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

At Children’s Hospital, your child has access to advanced treatments and leading-edge care for childhood cancers. Learn more about our Oncology programs and services.

Contact us

The Cancer and Blood Disease Institute welcomes new patients, referrals and second opinions. Please call us to make an appointment.