General Information regarding Glioma

A glioma is a type of neurological tumor that starts in the brain or spine. A glioma originates in the glial cells in the nervous system, i.e., the tissue that surrounds and supports nerve cells. Glioma is the most common primary neurological tumor. With high mortality, poor prognosis and resistance to standard treatments, glioma remains a major therapeutic challenge.

Currently, glioma is treated by extensive surgical excision in combination with postoperative radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Every year thousands of people find out that they have glioma, and many of them die within 12 months. Included in this group are many children.They are difficult to treat, much more difficult to cure.

Glioma can spread into the adjacent brain tissue from tumor mass, although they do not metastasize outside of central nervous system.  Complete surgical resection is nearly impossible without any injury of normal, adjacent brain tissues. Whole brain radiotherapy with chemotherapy tends to induce more brain damage and side effects without significant improvement of quality of life, especially in children. Therefore, an ideal treatment should be an approach that not only eliminates tumor cells but also repairs tumor related brain damage. Nowadays, more and more research points to Stem Cell Therapy, and other cellular therapies, as potentially promising methods to achieve better results in treating glioma.

Classification of Glioma

Glioma are classified by the specific type of cell they most closely resemble. The main types of glioma are: ependymoma, astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, glioblastoma multiforme and mixed glioma.

Glial tumors—categories I-V—may also be sub-classified as invasive or non-invasive.  Although these categories are not recognized by the new WHO classification system, they are in common use.

Symptoms of Glioma

There are two main symptoms of glioma. One is caused by increased intracranial pressure, which presents as headache, vomiting, nausea, seizures and cranial nerve disorders. The other one is caused by tumorcompressing, infiltrating and destroying the nerve tissue, and these present as local symptoms related to the location (brain or spinal cord) of the glioma itself.

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