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Pediatric MIBG Therapy for Neuroblastoma

Children’s Health is one of only about 20 centers in the U.S. offering a unique type of radiation therapy called MIBG. This innovative approach can help some children whose neuroblastoma wasn’t cured by other therapies.

What is Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

MIBG therapy is a form of radiation therapy that works specifically for neuroblastoma. It goes directly after the tumor and avoids affecting nearby parts of the body. This leads to fewer side effects for your child.

Many cases of neuroblastoma can be treated with surgery and chemotherapy. We use MIBG therapy to treat children whose neuroblastoma didn’t respond to other treatments or came back after being treated. We are also studying whether MIBG therapy can help kids overcome their cancer in earlier rounds of treatment.

How does Pediatric MIBG Therapy work?

MIBG stands for “metaiodobenzylguanidine.” It’s a chemical that targets a specific type of cell found in neuroblastoma tumors.

We mix the chemical with a radioactive material. Then we give the mixture to your child through an IV. The MIBG does the job of finding the tumor, while the radioactive ingredient goes in and kills it.

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What are the benefits of Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

MIBG therapy has fewer side effects than other treatments because it attacks the tumor directly.

What are the side effects of Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

MIBG treatment can reduce the quantity of blood cells. We restore them by injecting your child’s own stem cells back into their body a few weeks after the treatment.

What are the risks of Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

The risks for this treatment are relatively low. Radiation can damage the thyroid over time, so we monitor your child following the treatment. Family members may be exposed to radiation as well. You will wear a monitor while you’re in the hospital to measure your exposure. We also provide protective gowns and guidelines to keep everyone safe.

What to expect with Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

You and your child will stay overnight in the hospital for a few days during treatment. MIBG therapy uses intense radiation, so your child will stay in their own room. You stay in a room next door, with a window and speaker system that allow you to communicate with your child. You can also see your child face to face at certain times.

What to expect before Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

Two weeks before treatment, you will meet with members of our team, including a child psychologist and Child Life specialist. The psychologist helps your child deal with the emotional challenges of their condition and treatment. The Child Life specialist figures out how to set up your child’s room so that it feels as comfortable and familiar as possible. We fill the room with toys, posters and other things we know they’ll enjoy.

What to expect during Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

The day before treatment, you and your child will come to the hospital to get settled. The treatment itself lasts about 90 minutes. Afterward, you stay in the hospital for another three to seven days while we monitor your child and make sure everything went well.

What to expect after Pediatric MIBG Therapy?

We replace your child’s blood cells about two weeks after MIBG therapy. We also schedule regular check-ups with your child to monitor their progress.

Pediatric MIBG Therapy for Neuroblastoma Doctors and Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should my child come to Children’s Health℠ for this treatment?

    Our affiliation with UT Southwestern enables us to offer care from top physicians, develop new treatments and offer innovative clinical trials. We are a national leader in research and care for many pediatric cancers, including neuroblastoma. Few centers in the country offer MIBG therapy. We approach this treatment with a complete team that works together on all aspects of your child’s health and recovery.

  • Is my child eligible for MIBG therapy?

    This is a relatively new therapy, so currently we offer it through clinical trials. We can use it to treat kids who have already tried other treatments, but their neuroblastoma either came back or never went away. We are also starting a new trial that studies whether it helps kids during early rounds of treatment. Talk to your child’s doctor to see if they are eligible to participate in one of our trials.