April 02. 2013 12:00PM - Last modified: April 02. 2013 12:08PM

Children’s Hospital and Medical College launch brain tumor clinical trial

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin announced today that they will investigate the safety of a new brain cancer treatment. Children and adolescents with recurrent or progressive brain tumors will have an opportunity to participate in the new clinical trial.


The treatment, called photodynamic therapy (PDT), is for patients with recurrent, malignant brain tumors. PDT is a two-step cancer treatment process. A photosensitizing drug is injected into the blood stream of patients where it accumulates in cancer cells in the brain. Immediately after surgical removal of the tumor, the drug is activated with laser light killing any remaining cancer cells in the nearby brain. 

A previous clinical trial using PDT for the treatment of adults with recurrent, malignant brain tumors demonstrated long-term survival in 40-50 percent of patients.

"We believe the findings from prior studies of PDT in adults warrants application in pediatric patients with recurrent/refractory, high-grade brain tumors,” said Dr. Harry T. Whelan, the lead investigator of the study. “Children's Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW) is one of the few centers in the country with experience utilizing PDT technology for the treatment of brain tumors. As a result we are uniquely poised to apply PDT treatment in pediatric patients."