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There are ~18,000 new cases of glioma diagnosed in the USA alone and their incidence has been growing; they represent up to 33% of all primary brain tumors. Around 13,000 of patients with malignant gliomas die every year and the ratio of incidence vs. mortality is indicative of the substantial challenge that gliomas present in medical practice. Aside from their impact on survival, gliomas, by virtue of their site of origin and growth characteristics, also have the potential to profoundly influence elemental capabilities such as movement, thought, speech and attention. As such, these tumors produce disproportionate effects on health and wellbeing of afflicted individuals. Gliomas arise from all three types of cells supporting neurons in the brain or spinal cord: astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells. These different lineages produce characteristic appearances when examined under classic light microscopy, the traditional method of diagnosing different types of glial neoplasms. Most recent classification schemes, however, have been based on both histological and molecular criteria—the latter also allowing for new insights into pathogenesis and also novel, targeted therapies. The last several decades have produced and accelerated our collective understanding of glioma etiology along with the genetic and molecular underpinnings of these diseases. Unfortunately, these insights have yet been translated into noteworthy clinical benefits for patients. One of the major and relatively recent discoveries of some significance came with the identification of mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1 and 2 genes. CONTINUE READING.....
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