lunes, 26 de marzo de 2012

Glowing Tumors: Cutting Out Cancer By Lighting It Up! | Medical News and Health Information

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Glowing Tumors: Cutting Out Cancer By Lighting It Up! | Medical News and Health Information

Glowing Tumors: Cutting Out Cancer By Lighting It Up! -- Research Summary


BACKGROUND: Glioblastoma (GBM) belongs to a family of brain tumors called "astrocytomas." These are tumors which arise from astrocytes – star-shaped cells of the brain which play a role in supporting normal brain tissue. There are four stages of astrocyomas and GBM is the fourth; it is also the most aggressive type of nervous system tumor. SOURCE: (; (; (

SYMPTOMS: General symptoms of GBM are essentially the same as for other brain tumors, they include, headache, weakness, seizures, clumsiness; and having difficulty walking.

Specific symptoms will depend on the size and location of the GBM. The symptoms of brain cancer are numerous and not specific to brain tumors, meaning they can be caused by many other illnesses as well. The only way to know for sure what is causing the symptoms is to undergo diagnostic testing SOURCE: (; (

TREATMENT: The standard method of treating GBM has been essentially unchanged for many decades—surgical resection of as much of the tumor as is safe, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy (usually designed to damage DNA or to otherwise inhibit DNA replication) SOURCE: (

SURVIVAL: Most people diagnosed with GBM die of this disease in less than a year. Even under the best of circumstances, in which essentially all of the enhancing tumor seen on MRI scan can be surgically removed and the patients are fully treated with radiation and chemotherapy, the mean survival of this disease is only extended from two to three months to one year. Only about one out of every four patients with this type of tumor survives two years. Prospects are better when:
THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW: Although GBM brain tumors can occur at almost any age, they're most common after 50 years of age. GBM is hard to detect, thus a new drug called gliolan is used to light up the cancer cells. Gliolan is absorbed by cells in the body, where it is converted by enzymes into fluorescent chemicals. When illuminated under blue light of a specific wavelength, the PPIX in the tumor glows an intense red, while the normal brain tissue appears blue. This enables the surgeon to see the tumor more clearly during brain surgery and to remove it more accurately, sparing healthy brain tissue 

LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS: Winship Cancer Institute researchers are testing an experimental therapy for GBM. The study uses brain imaging in an effort to detect whether the therapy is having an effect after one week. The therapy combines vorinostat, an experimental drug, with temozolomide, which is standard treatment for GBM. The goal of using the vorinostat drug is to turn genes that could suppress tumor growth back on while restoring normal metabolic behavior to the cancer cells, thus halting tumor growth SOURCE: (


Janet Christenbury
Emory University Media Relations

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