In northeast Ohio, approximately 10,000 people have a primary brain tumor. Glioma brain tumors make up 30% of primary brain tumors and are one of the most malignant and difficult to treat forms of all cancers. They are the second most common concer and most lethal of cancers affecting people less than 15 years of age.
Some glioma tumors such as glioblastoma leave most patients with a short life expectancy and little hope. Over the past fifteen years, treatment advancements have not improved life expectancy by more than four months. A tumor's location often makes complete surgical resection impossible or very dangerous. Typical chemotherapy drugs are not very successful since it is difficult to get them to pass into the brain. The most aggressive brain tumors such as glioblastoma can even become resistant to chemotherapy.
Recent medical advances show a lot of promise. Some neurosurgeons have pioneered new surgical techniques to allow for more accurate tumor resection. Certain new and repurposed drugs are being used, often in combination, with better success. The focus of research for these aggressive brain tumors has shifted away from dangerous radiation therapy and often debilitating chemotherapy. The promising future focuses more on vaccines and the immune system, individualized targeted treatments, and better surgical techniques.
This is where we need your help. Brain tumors are not as common as most other cancers. By pure numbers, they just don't attract enough attention for adequate research funding. However, brain tumors have left their mark locally by affecting the families of five physicians right here in Summit County. Currently there are some very exciting research ideas that are unable to get the funding needed to complete the research to make the treatment applicable to the patients that desperately need it. Most leading researchers admit that they spend more time soliciting funds than doing actual research.