Brain Tumor Fact Sheet
CIRM funds many projects seeking to better understand brain tumors and to translate those discoveries into new therapies.
A type of brain tumor called a high-grade glioma, or malignant brain tumor, is among the hardest tumors to treat. About 13,000 people die from brain tumors each year.
Gliomas are particularly difficult to treat because they are made up of tumor cells that spread throughout the brain, not remaining in a single area where they could be removed through surgery or targeted by radiation. Chemotherapy has not been effective at eradicating all of the glioma cells.
Stem cell approaches look promising for treating gliomas. Certain types of stem cell tend to migrate toward the tumor cells wherever they are in the brain. CIRM-funded researchers are trying to genetically engineer those stem cells to produce cancer-killing molecules. Transplanted into the brain, these cells would seek out the cancer cells and deliver their therapy directly where it is needed. This approach could significantly decrease toxic side-effects to normal tissues, preserving or improving the patient's quality of life.
Clinical Stage Programs
This team is targeting six cell surface proteins that are found on cancer stem cells in the brain cancer glioblastoma. Cells from the patient’s own immune system are exposed to fragments of these cancer cell surface proteins in the lab. When returned to the patient’s body, the immune system cells can now help identify and then hopefully kill the cancer stem cells responsible for the tumor’s recurrence and growth.
CIRM Grants Targeting Brain Tumors
CIRM Brain Tumor Stem Cell Videos
News and Information
- CIRM Stem Cellar Blogs on Brain Cancer
- Grant money could speed stem cell cures (LA Times)
- The True Seeds of Cancer (Stanford Medicine)
- Bad Seeds: Cancer's Ultimate Source (Stanford Medicine)
- National Cancer Institute: Brain Tumor Facts
- Find a clinical trial near you: NIH Clinical Trials database
- American Brain Tumor Association
- National Brain Tumor Society
- The Brain Tumor Foundation
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- National Family Caregivers Association