02:10 AM

Children's Mercy Launches Brain Tumor Program

With the creation of a comprehensive pediatric brain tumor program, Children's Mercy has strengthened its place among the nation's leading pediatric cancer centers.

Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist Kevin Ginn, MD, Director of the program, works with a team that includes oncologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, neurologists, rehabilitative professionals and other clinical staff to provide comprehensive, focused care for brain tumor patients.

The program focuses heavily on coordination of therapy, increasing the number of cutting-edge clinical trials, and increased recognition in the area as a pediatric neuro-oncology referral center. Additionally, we are launching research collaborations with local and national groups to increase the survival of children with brain tumors.

Dr. Ginn joined Children's Mercy last year to launch the program after completing his training in neuro-oncology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. A graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Ginn trained at Louisiana State University in New Orleans before moving to Children's Mercy for training in pediatric hematology and oncology.

Children's Mercy sees more than 180 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. About 39 new brain tumor patients were diagnosed last year. Hospitals with that high volume often need to divide into specialty areas for more focused patient care.

"Brain tumor patients continue to have higher than acceptable mortality rates and frequently have significant complications after surgery and therapy," Dr. Ginn said. "It is better to have coordinated care specifically for those patients."

He oversees treatment of all brain tumor patients, who are cared for by a team of oncologists. Twice-monthly, multidisciplinary patient care conferences allow providers to discuss patients' treatment and needs.

Another major aspect of the program is clinical trials.

"One of the goals is to have a clinical trial for every major type of pediatric brain tumor for new diagnoses as well as for relapse," Dr. Ginn said. He hopes to focus on tumors with the worst prognoses, like high-grade gliomas, diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors.

"Survival is so poor, we want to be able to enroll these patients in early-stage trials from diagnosis," he said.

Dr. Ginn expects to work with local organizations like the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and The University of Kansas Cancer Center to stimulate research and bring it forward to clinical care.

Kevin Ginn, MD

Kevin Ginn, MD, Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist, is Director of the Children's Mercy team providing comprehensive, focused care for brain tumor patients.