Brain cancer may have rogue stem cell origin, option for treatment

Glioblastoma and other related malignant glioma tumors including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) are some of the most devastating of all human cancers.

These brain tumors usually kill the people who get them within 1-2 years even with treatments and because today’s therapies for these cancers are themselves extremely harsh, patients’ quality of life is often very poor. Brain surgery, irradiation, and chemo can leave patients disabled.

A big challenge for clinically approaching these malignant glioma tumors is that the cell of origin is not clearly understood. In other words, for the question “where do malignant gliomas come from?” researchers do not so far have a whole lot of clarity. The less we understand a disease, the more difficult it is to treat it.

One intriguing, but controversial notion is that malignant glioma arise from stem cells and that these cancers contain a population of glioma stem cells (GSCs) that is clinically meaningful. For some helpful background see this fantastic review by Luis Parada’s group. Clinically targeting GSCs could lead to better outcomes for patients, but again this is a controversial area of research.

Read the full, original story: Know your enemy: are glioma stem cells a path to better outcomes?

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