Texas Children's Cancer Center Opens First Liver Tumor Center in Southwest


HOUSTON - (Oct. 14, 2010) - Liver tumors affect more than 300 children in the United States each year and management of these children requires coordinated comprehensive care from experts in many disciplines. To answer this problem, Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine announced today the formation of a new Liver Tumor Center that brings together renowned specialists in all aspects of liver cancer who will utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to provide the most comprehensive and innovative care for children afflicted with these diseases. The Liver Tumor Center is the first to open in Texas and the Southwest, and is supported by the vast infrastructure provided by Texas Children's Cancer Center (TCCC), the largest pediatric oncology and hematology center in the country and one of the finest places for children with cancer to receive care. Watch a video about the Liver Tumor Center.

"By streamlining our resources and assembling an array of experts in the field in one comprehensive center, we are able to offer patients a well-coordinated approach to not only effect a cure but to provide an excellent quality of life after treatment," said Murali Chintagumpala, M.D., head of the Solid Tumor Team at Texas Children's Cancer Center and professor, department of pediatrics, section of hematology/oncology at Baylor College of Medicine.

"When one team works seamlessly to create the best plan for each patient, everyone benefits. The patients benefit by having all of their care in one location and the doctors benefit from our integrated communication and instant access to information."

Beyond providing comprehensive care to patients, the Liver Tumor Center offers a broad research program designed to further the understanding of what causes liver tumors in children through laboratory and clinical research. The center's research efforts span the spectrum from basic science to clinical applications that focus on tumor biology, prevention, and the development of new therapies.

Led by Patrick A. Thompson, M.D., pediatric oncologist in the Texas Children's Cancer Center and assistant professor, department of pediatrics, section of hematology/oncology at Baylor College of Medicine, the Liver Tumor Center boasts a team of experts representing every subspecialty involved in the diagnosis and treatment of children with benign or cancerous liver tumors. In addition, specialists pioneering advances in subspecialties like oncology, radiology, pathology, genetics, hepatology, pharmacology and laboratory research make the Liver Tumor Center at Texas Children's Cancer Center unique in its ability to provide such outstanding care.

More than one-third of children with malignant liver tumors eventually require a liver transplant. This center will bring together all of the doctors that a patient will need during their treatment, from oncologists to transplant surgeons. The likelihood of a good outcome for a patient with an extensive liver tumor, both in terms of a cure and quality of life after treatment, is high when the care is provided in a multidisciplinary setting like the Liver Tumor Center, where there is direct access to the pediatric liver transplant program at Texas Children's Hospital, the largest program in the southern United States.

"The goal is to rapidly integrate advances in molecular biology into clinical practice," said Milton Finegold, M.D., one of the world's pre-eminent pathology experts on liver tumors. Dr. Finegold is Chief Emeritus of the pathology service at Texas Children's, professor of pathology and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and the lead pathologist for liver tumors in the National Cancer Institute-funded Children's Oncology Group. Finegold adds, "Combining our efforts is a huge step in improving our ability to diagnose and treat liver tumors."

Within the multidisciplinary center, clinicians and scientists meet regularly to discuss each patient's treatment plan and coordinate care in a way that takes advantage of the unique expertise of all the doctors and researchers involved. Efforts to identify different types of tumors based on their genetic background will eventually lead to personalized medicine, in which therapy is individualized for each patient and their particular cancer. This personalized approach will result in increased cures with fewer side effects.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.