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The Role of Research in Treating Malignant Brain Tumors

There have been tremendous advances made in the last two decades in the battle against malignant brain tumors. Advances in neuroradiology have lead to more timely and accurate diagnoses, improved neurosurgical approaches have permitted more complete and safer tumor removal and new chemotherapies and radiation therapies have extended survival.

The Brain Tumor Team at Johns Hopkins is proud to offer state of the art care for patients with malignant brain tumors. We are achingly aware, however, that despite the advances in radiology, surgery, radiation and oncology, malignant brain tumors are aggressive and remain deadly tumors. This is painfully illustrated by the fact that the average survival for the most common primary malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, remains only 1-2 years despite maximal therapy.

Clearly, we need to do much more. At Johns Hopkins Hospital we believe that well designed and carefully conducted research will lead us to the next major breakthrough in the treatment of patients with malignant brain tumors and eventually lead to cures. Research takes many forms. Many of the ideas advanced for treating brain tumors start in basic science laboratories on the cellular and molecular level. These ideas are then typically tested in animals and, if they show promise, are then advanced to studies in patients. Johns Hopkins benefits from a long and rich tradition of collaboration between basic scientists and clinical scientists, which allows for efficient advancement of new ideas from the laboratory to patients.

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