Tuesday March 26, 2019

Deadliest Brain Cancer: Glioblastoma

At Texas A&M University in College Station, researchers are looking to see whether they can disrupt the body's production of a protein associated with tumor growth.

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Liver Cancer, Cancer, Artificial Intelligece
A high-magnification image from a 2012 glioblastoma case is seen as an example in this College of American Pathologists image released from Northfield. VOA

U.S. Senator John McCain’s death from glioblastoma on Saturday brought new attention to the most deadly type of brain cancer.

The National Brain Tumor Society says 80 percent of brain tumors are benign, but a glioblastoma tumor grows rapidly, and it returns after treatment. It usually affects adults, especially men over age 50, but women and even children can develop this type of cancer.

Glioblastoma begins in glial cells that surround and support nerve cells. Because glioblastoma spreads so quickly, the sooner the cancer is diagnosed, the more treatment options a patient has.

Symptoms can include headaches, seizures, memory loss, changes in personality, changes in vision, and difficulty speaking or understanding conversations. The tumor can also affect coordination.

Glioblastoma is generally considered incurable because it is difficult to remove all of cancer during surgery, which is why it can grow back. Surgery is usually the first treatment, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. McCain’s treatment included these three options.

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Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

Drugs used to treat patients with this type of cancer have lengthened patients’ lives over the past two decades. The National Cancer Institute reports that in the mid-1990s, the average survival rate was eight to 10 months. With new drugs patients now live between 15 and 18 months on average. McCain’s tumour was diagnosed in July 2017. He died little more than a year later.

The National Cancer Institute says survival has also improved slightly. In the mid-1990s, essentially no one with glioblastoma survived five years after diagnosis, now 15 per cent of patients do, a very small proportion compared with survival rates for most other types of cancer.

Researchers are looking for new ways to treat glioblastoma. Those at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, are using a modified polio vaccine with promising results. In the first part of a clinical trial, 21 percent of the patients survived for three years after being treated.

At Texas A&M University in College Station, researchers are looking to see whether they can disrupt the body’s production of a protein associated with tumor growth.

Also Read: USA Sees a Significant Rise in STD Cases

Other research involves seeing whether the body’s own immune system could fight off the cancer cells.

The National Brain Tumor Society issued a statement on McCain’s death. It said the society was “profoundly saddened” and called for a national effort to combat the disease. (VOA)

Next Story

Childhood Maltreatment Strongest Risk Factor for Depression in Adulthood: Lancet

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome

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Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression. Pixabay

Facing trauma in childhood can significantly change the structure of the brain, which may result in severe depression which could even be recurrent in adulthood, say researchers.

The results from MRI scan images suggest that both childhood maltreatment and recurring depression are associated with similar reductions in the surface area of the insular cortex, part of the brain that regulates emotion and self-awareness.

This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, which found childhood maltreatment one of the strongest risk factors for major depression in adulthood.

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Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

“Given the impact of the insular cortex on brain functions such as emotional awareness, it’s possible that the changes we saw make patients less responsive to conventional treatments,” said lead researcher Nils Opel from the University of Munster in Germany.

The study included 110 patients aged 18 to 60 years. Of the 75 patients who experienced a relapse, 48 had experienced one additional episode, seven reported two episodes, and six experienced three episodes.

Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression.

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This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Pixabay

ALSO READ: 4 Indian-American Teenagers Awarded for Inventions in Environmental Issues

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome.

Future psychiatric research should therefore explore how the findings could be translated into special attention, care and treatment that could improve patient outcomes, the study noted. (IANS)