Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Neuro-Oncology Program was established in 2020 to cultivate research and bring highly specialized care to adolescent and young adult patients (ages 15-39) diagnosed with central nervous system (CNS) malignancies, including brain and spinal cord tumors.
Adolescents and young adults (AYA) are a population recognized by the National Cancer Institute as facing critical, age-related challenges in cancer care and research. While cancer survival has significantly increased in children and older adults across various malignancies, cancer survival in the AYA population has not increased substantially.
Reasons for this disparity include:
- Genomic and biological differences
- Treatment centers (community vs. academic)
- Poor enrollment in clinical trials
- Unmet psychosocial needs
- Health behaviors
Little is documented in the literature about the clinical, biological, and outcome differences of primary CNS malignancies among AYA.
The AYA Neuro-Oncology Program aims to improve the outcomes of AYA patients with central nervous system (CNS) malignancies by leveraging the medical expertise of adult and pediatric neuro-oncologists, providing AYA-specific services and resources, and fostering clinical and translational research. Our program enhances neuro-oncology cancer care for AYAs by improving patient access to AYA clinical care and facilitating multi-disciplinary interactions among the neurosurgery and radiation oncology teams.
The program also plays an active role in increasing and facilitating AYA-specific research by promoting clinical, translational, and health outcomes investigations; advocating for the inclusion of the AYA population in pediatric and adult neuro-oncology clinical trials; and developing clinical trials specific to AYA neuro-oncology patients.
One of the unique features of this program is the establishment of a multidisciplinary neuro-oncology clinic for AYA patients with CNS tumors. The multidisciplinary clinic allows patients access to the pediatric neuro-oncology team, the adult neuro-oncology team, and other health care professionals with AYA expertise in a combined clinical setting at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has many of the nation's leading experts in cancer, and the co-location of adult and pediatric oncology provides an unparalleled opportunity for collaborative care. The Adolescent and Young Adult Neuro-Oncology Program aims to improve the outcomes of AYA patients with central nervous system (CNS) malignancies by leveraging the medical expertise of adult and pediatric neuro-oncologists at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center and Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
Kee Kiat Yeo, MD
Physician, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology
Director, AYA Neuro-Oncology Program
David Reardon, MD
Clinical Director, Center for Neuro-Oncology
Co-Director, AYA Neuro-Oncology Program
Program Manager, Neuro-Oncology
Program Coordinator II, AYA Neuro-Oncology Program