About Me

I am a pediatric oncologist who specializes in the care of children, teenagers, and young adults with brain and eye tumors, including medulloblastoma (the most common malignant brain tumor in children) and retinoblastoma (a rare eye tumor in children). I also treat children and teenagers with melanoma, and children and adults with a rare white blood cell disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

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In my clinical research, my colleagues and I are seeking to develop more-effective therapies with fewer and less-severe side effects. For example, we are exploring a new treatment regimen for patients with medulloblastoma that is intended to reduce side effects by limiting the amount of radiation given to areas of the brain without cancer.

I am also working to develop new treatments for retinoblastoma, a rare eye tumor that occurs in children. These include the use of intensive therapy for children whose retinoblastoma has metastasized (spread outside of the eye) and local chemotherapy for those with advanced cancer in the eye.

In addition to patient care and research, I am one of the lead attendings on the Faculty Fellow Team. The team works closely with young doctors training in this subspecialty to help them learn how best to identify the individual needs of patients and manage the care of children with malignancies.

Nationally, I am on the Children’s Oncology Group Retinoblastoma and Brain Tumor Committees, and I serve as the Principal Investigator for national clinical trials dealing with these tumors.

I find it very rewarding to work with patients and their families and to tailor and explain to them their treatment options, guiding them in complex decision-making or exploring various alternatives. Our goal is to cure the cancer while leaving the patient with as normal a life as possible.

  • Clinical Expertise: Brain Tumors; Retinoblastoma
  • Awards and Honors: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2005-2016)
  • Languages Spoken: English
  • Education: MD, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Residencies: Duke University Medical Center
  • Fellowships: Duke University; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Board Certifications: Pediatric Hematology-Oncology

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Visit PubMed for a full listing of Ira J. Dunkel’s journal articles

Pubmed is an online index of biomedical articles maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.


Most major health insurers offer plans that include MSK as one of their in-network providers. If MSK is in-network, it means all our doctors are too. Medicaid and New York State Medicare also provide benefits for care at MSK.

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