As the world is advancing towards scientific evolution, healthcare professionals are getting more and more educated on the onset of diseases. Without any doubt, cancer is one of the deadliest illnesses in the world. Heart diseases are the first killers in the US and Canada. After that, cancer kills about 9.5 million people yearly. That means, this disease kills 26,000 people every day. Another unfortunate statistic is that 7 out of every 10 cancer deaths take place in low or middle-income countries.
What is a brain tumor?
According to the scientific dictionary, a tumor is a bunch or cluster of abnormal cells that start growing out of control in your brain. Significantly, there are two types of brain tumors:
- Benign – this type refers to a tumor that is not cancerous.
- Malignant – this type refers to a cancerous tumor.
You can also classify tumors based on their origin. If the tumor started in your brain, it is called a primary brain tumor. However, if the growth of cells started from somewhere else in your body and reached your brain, it is called a secondary brain tumor.
What are the different types of brain tumors?
As you read earlier, primary brain tumors arise in the brain and the central nervous system. The nomenclature of brain tumors is based on the area where they are developed or diagnosed first. Until now, hundreds of types of brain tumors have been detected. However, the most common types that occur in adults are:
This type of tumor attacks the glial cells, which keep the nerves of the brain healthy and going. They are most often cancerous and spread throughout the brain and perhaps other parts of the body as well. There are a variety of gliomas categories, and they are based on which kind of cells they target. One of the most common types in adults is called Astrocytomas. Moreover, a glioblastoma is known as the most aggressive glial tumor.
Meningiomas form in the meninges, which is a thin layer of tissue that protects the brain and spinal cord. This type of tumor is not cancerous. However, it can cause other problems by pressing on your brain.
These tumors damage the protective coating of nerve cells. Tumors of this nature are also not cancerous but they can cause problems with balance or hearing loss.
Pituitary adenomas form on the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of your brain. This organ is responsible for producing important hormones. Generally, these tumors are not cancerous and are slow-growing. (WebMD, 2020)
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The different brain tumor treatments
Just like other terminal diseases, the cure and treatment of brain tumors depend on various factors such as age, general health, the presence of any underlying disease, and size, location, and type of tumor. Most treatment plans involve a team of several doctors. Your team might include:
- Radiation oncologists.
- A physical therapist.
The most widely accepted treatments for brain tumors are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, every case is different in a number of ways, and their treatment plan is based on the following factors:
- The type of tumor
- The location and size of the tumor.
- The age of the patient and overall health condition.
- Risks of specific treatments.
- Other underlying medical problems. (WebMD, 2020)
The modern approach to treating brain tumors by Medical College of Georgia At Augusta University.
When you have a look at RNA molecules, you will realize that they are telling your cells what to do. According to scientists, if you analyze the RNA of brain tumor cells, they can provide a staunch objective and evidence for better classification of the stage of tumor and will also help in understanding effective treatments. As you read earlier, gliomas are the most common brain tumor type in adults. These tumors have a variety of possible outcomes and three subtypes. They range from more treatable astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas to more lethal glioblastomas.
What is the Medical College of Georgia working on?
The scientists at Medical College of Georgia are working on a journal called Scientific Report, where they reported a method that can help in classifying and treating brain tumors. The techniques produce a transcriptomic profile of the tumor that helps in recognizing some of the most serious factors of the cancerous cells. The suspected new approach would provide additional information about the tumor that can aid in accurately dealing with the efficacy of existing classification methods. Other than that, it will also help in identifying proactive treatment targets.
Through RNA sequencing, you will provide a snapshot of what is high and low in those glial cells when they are isolated out of the body. The data will offer information like how many copies of RNA the relevant genes are making. Generally, mechanisms like gene expressions determine everything from your hair color to your weight. With the help of a transcriptomic profile, you can count the number of copies of each gene carried in the cell.
The job of glial cells is to support and look after neurons. Their gene expression is tightly regulated that enables them to do just that. When cancer attacks these cells, the first thing that happens is the number of RNA copies of each gene in the cell changes. With that, the important function of the cell changes as well. As the transcriptomic method’s goal is to count the number of RNA copies, it can help you detect the type and stage of glial tumor one has.
In Transcriptomic profiling, the tumor sample of the patient is obtained from the surgeon. After that, it goes through an automated process that extracts RNA. This is carried out with the help of an instrument that is capable of reading gene expression levels for varying genes. The collected data is transferred into a machine learning algorithm, which provides the handler with the glioma subtype and a prognosis that can help in determining the treatment. (Medical College Of Georgia At Augusta University, 2021)
If experts in this field keep exploring the diverse field of cells and genomes, there are high chances that we will hit the jackpot and find the ultimate cure for deadly cancer and tumors.
MEDICAL COLLEGE OF GEORGIA AT AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY. (2021). A new approach emerges to better classify, treat brain tumors. Scientific Reports. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/mcog-nae011521.php
WebMD. (2020). Brain Cancer Treatment. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/brain-tumors-in-adults#1
WebMD. (2020). Brain Tumors in Adults. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/brain-tumors-in-adults#1