Individuals with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) can now benefit from the Midwest’s only program specializing in the clinical care of children and adults with NF2 – the Washington University NF2 Clinical Program. This new program is a joint project of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Siteman Cancer Center and the Washington University Neurofibromatosis Center.
NF2 is a genetic disorder that affects one in 40,000 individuals worldwide. Individuals with NF2 develop many tumors in the cranial nervous system. Since tumors can often develop around the acoustic portion of the cranial nerve, some of the earliest symptoms can include hearing loss, tinnitus and problems with balance. One of the frustrating aspects of NF2 is its variation from individual to individual. In this regard, the medical problems and the time course of NF2 may be different, even in members of the same family.
The NF2 Clinical Program is co-directed by Michael Chicoine, MD, Washington University neurosurgeon, and Timothy Hullar, MD, Washington University otolaryngologist. Their collective experience in treating large numbers of patients with this uncommon disease stimulated the assembly of a dedicated group of physicians and other health care professionals from a broad spectrum of medical specialties — including oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, audiology and neuro-ophthalmology — to coordinate patient assessment and treatment in a comprehensive approach.
This leading-edge research offers unique benefits to our patients, such as the ongoing work concentrated on the use of chemotherapeutic agents to arrest the growth of tumors or to reduce their size and cochlear implantation to preserve or restore hearing.