Tumors on the Brain
August 25, 2009 marked the day that America, and most importantly Massachusetts, lost one of its greatest senators, Ted Kennedy. Kennedy was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in May 2008 after suffering from a seizure. GBM is a tumor formed in the glial, or supportive, brain cells; there is no current evidence for a genetic predisposition to this type of cancer. The American Cancer Society believes that 21,000 Americans are diagnosed with brain tumors, and about 10,000 are GBMs. They are the most aggressive and common type of brain tumor, which are resistant to many types of treatments. Only 3% of patients diagnosed with these tumors generally survive five years after diagnosis.
Almost two years after Kennedy’s death, doctors are using the drug Avastin to treat GMBs. Avastin blocks the growth of new blood vessels, a necessary component for the survival of tumors. More