Brain Tumor Fact Sheet
CIRM funds research in all types of cancer, including malignant glioma. Research ranges from projects understanding the possible stem cell origins of cancer to therapies using stem cells to deliver toxic compounds to tumors.
If you want to learn more about CIRM funding decisions or make a comment directly to our board, join us at a public meeting. You can find agendas for upcoming public meetings on our meetings page.
Find clinical trials:
CIRM does not track stem cell clinical trials. If you or a family member is interested in participating in a clinical trial, please see the national trial database to find a trial near you: clinicaltrials.gov
The role of stem cell research in treating brain tumors
A type of brain tumor called a high-grade glioma, or malignant brain tumor, is among the hardest tumors to treat. About 13,000 people die from brain tumors each year.
Gliomas are particularly difficult to treat because they are made up of tumor cells that spread throughout the brain, not remaining in a single area where they could be removed through surgery or targeted by radiation. Chemotherapy has not been effective at eradicating all of the glioma cells.
Stem cell approaches look promising for treating gliomas. Certain types of stem cell tend to migrate toward the tumor cells wherever they are in the brain. CIRM-funded researchers are trying to genetically engineer those stem cells to produce cancer-killing molecules. Transplanted into the brain, these cells would seek out the cancer cells and deliver their therapy directly where it is needed. This approach could significantly decrease toxic side-effects to normal tissues, preserving or improving the patient's quality of life.
City of Hope
A team led by Karen Aboody at the City of Hope near Los Angeles is modifying human neural or brain stem cells to carry a powerful chemotherapy. The cells will migrate to the cancer cells in the brain and selectively destroy those cells while sparing normal tissues. This team has had good results testing the approach in animals and expects to begin clinical trials in humans within a few years.
CIRM Grants Targeting Brain Tumors
CIRM Brain Tumor Stem Cell Videos
News and Information
- Grant money could speed stem cell cures (LA Times)
- CIRMResearch Blog entries on cancer research progress
- The True Seeds of Cancer (Stanford Medicine)
- Bad Seeds: Cancer's Ultimate Source (Stanford Medicine)
- National Cancer Institute: Brain Tumor Facts
- Find a clinical trial near you: NIH Clinical Trials database
- American Brain Tumor Association
- National Brain Tumor Society
- The Brain Tumor Foundation
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- National Family Caregivers Association