At Sheba Medical Center, immediately following neuroblastoma diagnosis and staging, your child’s doctors will come together to build a specialized treatment plan. Our multidisciplinary team puts emphasis on treating the patient — not the disease.
Sheba’s holistic approach ensures that you and your child will have access to not only top-tier specialists in oncology, but to an experienced and caring team of nurses, psychologists, social workers, and nutritionists as well.
Customized treatment plans for neuroblastoma depend on many factors, including:
- Age of the child
- Location of the cancer
- Stage of the disease
- Risk group of the child
- Response to initial treatment
Once these factors are assessed, our specialists will build an action plan that may include the following treatments offered at Sheba:
Chemotherapy treatment for neuroblastoma will depend on your child’s risk group. Some children may not be treated with chemotherapy at all; some may be treated before or after surgery; and some may be given chemotherapy as the main form of treatment.
If your child’s treatment plan does include chemotherapy, the treatment team at Sheba will evaluate the case and carefully choose a chemotherapy drug — or a combination of drugs — that they determine will be most effective for your child’s treatment.
At Sheba, we ensure that each patient is closely monitored following administration of chemotherapy drugs so that our doctors can adjust or change medications based on the patient’s needs.
Targeted therapy drugs are different from chemotherapy drugs because they are made to identify and attack specific cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. In some cases, they are more effective than chemotherapy drugs and they often have different side effects.
There are many different kinds of targeted therapy drugs, and they each work differently. They may work by blocking chemical signals that tell cancer cells to grow; changing proteins within the cancer cells so that they die; preventing new blood vessels from forming that would otherwise feed cancer cells; triggering the immune system to kill cancer cells; or bringing toxins to the cancer cells to kill them.
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. Doctors try to avoid this form of treatment in young children due to its long-term side effects. However, if a child is considered high-risk or if he or she has life-threatening symptoms, it may be used alongside other treatments, such as chemotherapy or stem cell transplant.
Bone Marrow Transplant / Stem Cell Transplant
Stem cell transplants are generally only performed in children with high-risk neuroblastoma. The patient typically undergoes chemotherapy or surgery — or a combination of both — before the transplant.
In most cases, children with neuroblastoma receive their own stem cells for the transplant. Before the stem cell transplant is performed, the child will be given a medication that promotes the production of white blood cells and helps stem cells move into the bloodstream. The stem cells are then removed from the blood and frozen until the transplant.
When it is time for the transplant, the stem cells are thawed and given to the patient through a blood transfusion. It then takes a few weeks for them to settle in the bone marrow and start producing new white blood cells.
Our Promise to You
At Sheba Medical Center, we will keep you fully informed every step of the way as your child undergoes treatment for neuroblastoma. We understand that cancer treatment takes a major toll on the whole family, and therefore offer a diverse range of support services to guide you and your child through the entire process.