Pediatric Brain and Spine Clinical Trials and Research

Dr. Yoon-Jae Cho (left), a pediatric neurologist and researcher, is one of the world's leading experts on children's brain tumors.
Dr. Yoon-Jae Cho (left), a pediatric neurologist and researcher, is one of the world's leading experts on children's brain tumors.

OHSU Doernbecher’s world-class medical care goes hand in hand with leading-edge clinical trials and research. This gives your child access to the latest discoveries and treatments. We offer:

  • Doctor-scientists and other researchers at the forefront of precision medicine, which targets diseases at the individual, molecular level.
  • One-of-a-kind clinical trials.
  • Research partnerships with other leading children’s hospitals.
  • Close collaboration with partner programs, such as the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the OHSU Brain Institute.

Top minds

Doernbecher Children's Hospital doctors and scientists include some of the brightest minds in medicine. Their groundbreaking work ranges from Doernbecher-only trials to national collaborations. Some examples:

  • Dr. Yoon-Jae Cho is an internationally recognized researcher and pediatric neurologist who is pushing the boundaries of precision medicine. He is the scientific head of the Knight Cancer Institute’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Program and is among leaders of a national pediatric cancer trial to match medications to specific molecular pathways. He’s also working on new therapies for children whose cancer doesn’t respond to radiation or chemotherapy.
  • Dr. Nathan Selden, a Doernbecher neurosurgeon and head of OHSU’s Department of Neurological Surgery, co-led history’s first transplantation of stem cells into the human brain. He and colleagues have continued to analyze and report results from the work, a clinical trial started in 2006 that aims to help children with Batten disease.
  • Dr. Colin Roberts, a pediatric neurologist, is developing a national reputation for only-at-Doernbecher clinical trials on using cannabinoid derivatives to treat epilepsy.
  • Dr. Erika Finanger, a pediatric neurologist, is working on clinical trials of next-generation medications to treat muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy.

National collaborations

Doernbecher’s work with other top children’s hospitals gives your child local access to a national network of clinical trials. It also ensures that your child’s doctors are collaborating at the highest levels.

  • Doernbecher is a founding member of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, a network of 15 children’s hospitals dedicated to improving outcomes for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. Other members include the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, UCSF Medical Center, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Doernbecher is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, a clinical-trials network funded by the National Cancer Institute. The consortium serves as an international model for developing medications to fight childhood cancer.
  • OHSU is one of 28 members of the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, and the only one in Oregon. NeuroNEXT receives funding from the National Institutes of Health to study treatments for neurological diseases.

Treatment innovations

Doernbecher researchers are leaders in “translational medicine,” in which discoveries in the lab are quickly turned into better treatments for patients. Innovations include:

  • Reduced radiation for children who need CT scans.
  • Smaller incisions and less-invasive surgeries.
  • Methods to preserve vision during removal of brain tumors.
  • Improved safety and outcomes in spinal surgery.

Published work

Visit OHSU’s research database to read more about the studies and other work published by Doernbecher providers and scientists.

Learn more

  • For families: Ask your Doernbecher care team about suitable trials. If you're considering Doernbecher and want more information about clinical trials, please call 503-346-0640.

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