Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is a radiopharmaceutical (a radioactive drug) that can be given in high doses to deliver concentrated radiation directly to neuroblastoma tumors. Neuroblastoma cells naturally absorb MIBG, so when a physician introduces the synthetic hormone into the system via radioactive iodine, neuroblastoma cells absorb it and the radiation therapy—effectively destroying the cells.
Neuroblastoma is a rare, very aggressive cancer that forms in the sympathetic nervous system and is often fatal. There are an estimated 800 new cases every year, with about half of those children being considered high-risk and potential candidates for high-dose MIBG therapy.
Our MIBG program
The MIBG treatment program within the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation is among the first of its kind in the tri-state area. Before it opened, families would have to travel to hospitals in Boston or Philadelphia for MIBG treatment.
To make our MIBG treatment as safe and comfortable as possible, we’ve built a special state-of-the-art room in our hematology/oncology unit that's designed specifically for this type of therapy. The room’s walls, floor, ceiling and door are lined with lead to keep the radiation inside the room. Our multidisciplinary team works together to ensure that the MIBG therapy is given as safely and effectively as possible, while providing important emotional support to your child and family.
This program offers experts in the following areas:
- Nuclear medicine
- Radiation safety
- Pediatric oncology
Our team also includes:
- Child life specialists
- Creative art therapists
- Social workers
MIBG therapy is one step in a complex treatment plan for children with relapsed or difficult-to-treat neuroblastoma. It is also being tested in newly diagnosed high-risk neuroblastoma patients. Neuroblastoma patients who are candidates for MIBG therapy at Cohen Children’s are those who have not responded to other treatments, such as chemotherapy.
For more information or to refer a patient, call (718) 470-3942 or email [email protected] (Pediatric Hematology/Oncology trials office).
The creation of this program was made possible by a grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to eradicate childhood cancer and a donation from the Kostaris family, who funded the high-dose MIBG facility at Cohen Children’s through their foundation, Anastasia’s Legacy.