The Biology and Treatment of Primary Brain Tumors

The focus of the 2009 Forbeck Foundation meeting in Hilton Head was primary brain tumors.These are a leading cause of cancer death in children. Although their occurrence in adults is relatively rare, the tumors can be very aggressive with poor survival rates.

In adults, primary brain tumors usually arise in cells called astrocytes, which are thought of as the supporting cells of the nervous system. These cells, in their poorly differentiated form, can produce a tumor type called gliomas, which are exceedingly difficult to treat with any of the common approaches (surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy).