Malignant gliomas: New translational therapies
Translational Medical Research
Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors in adults and carry a dismal prognosis. Despite aggressive therapy with maximal safe surgical resection, radiation and chemotherapy, these tumors invariably are refractory to or become resistant to treatment and recur. Gliomas are highly infiltrative cancers and display remarkable genetic heterogeneity making them challenging to treat. Recent progress has been made in understanding the molecular and genetic composition of these tumors and from this, promising new targets for therapy have emerged. In particular, anti-angiogenesis therapies have led to modest success in disease control. In addition, the growing body of research in cancer immunology as well as cancer stem cells has made inroads in our understanding of tumorgenesis. Translational research has been particularly crucial to the development of these therapies as much preclinical and clinical work is needed to develop the rationale for treatments, to develop biomarkers of drug activity and to elucidate mechanisms of resistance. This brief overview will discuss some of the pivotal advances made in the pursuit of improved outcomes and survival for patients with this devastating disease.