BRAIN TUMOR AS SYMPTOM
ANCHOR LEAD: MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF BRAIN TUMORS REVEALS THEIR HIGHLY INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Analyzing brain tumors for molecular changes in their DNA and elsewhere isn’t just a laboratory exercise. Will Parsons, a brain cancer expert at Johns Hopkins and one author of a study identifying these changes published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, says such analyses have an impact on treatment.
PARSONS: The implication for patients is very, very important, in that even though we’ve been treating all these glioblastomas and gliomas the same way, meaning surgery, meaning radiation, and a little bit of chemotherapy we don’t know that they should be treated in the same way. Both in terms of our standard therapies, but now that we’re entering an era where we have specifically targeted treatments, you might not want to treat these things in the same way at all. Until we do the background studies of the genetic alterations occurring in these and classify them more accurately, we have no idea of how to rationally do that as clinicians. :31
Brain tumors are yet another type of cancer where personalized medicine is being implemented. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.