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Advances in Brain Cancer Treatment

Mid to intermediate grade gliomas are the most common type of brain tumor and affect as many as 18,000 people a year. Glioblastomas, the advanced form of these types of brain tumors, are especially dangerous, often striking older individuals and reducing the average survival time to less than 18 months. The severity of this type of brain cancer makes it even more important for doctors to stay on top of medical literature and the newest treatments in order to best treat their patients. If a doctor does not use the most effective treatment, then a patient may be able to recover under a claim of medical malpractice.

Genetic Disruptions in Cancer Cells

In a recent study authored and published by Dr. Bradley E. Bernstein, scientists revealed an important discovery concerning low and intermediate grade gliomas, the most common type of malignant brain tumors. In the study, researchers found that brain tumors did not have the mutations in growth-causing genes that are present in most types of tumors.

Although initially unsure of the underlying cause of this phenomenon, scientists later realized that the three-dimensional structure of the DNA in these types of cancers had been disrupted. After a significant amount of study, scientists found that a common gene, isocitrate dehydrogenase, or IDH, was being mutated, causing the cancer cell to become studded with chemical tags known as methyl groups. The methyl tags then broke down the walls of protein separating loops of DNA and activating a near-dormant growth gene, PDGFRA. The result was the fast paced growth of cancer cells throughout the body.

By growing glioma cells in petri dishes and adding the chemotherapy drug, 5-Azacytidine, scientists were able to dissolve the methyl groups, allowing the loops in the DNA to re-form and the growth gene to turn off. The hope is that the same process will be effective on other types of cancers like sarcomas, bladder, liver, and colon cancers, and leukemia.

Brain Cancer and Personal Injury

Doctors are required to keep up with the latest and most effective treatments. This is especially important for deadly illnesses like cancer. If physicians do not remain up-to-date on the latest medical trends, they may unknowingly recommend and prescribe courses of treatment that can significantly affect a patient’s chances of survival, cause unnecessary pain and suffering, and increase the amount of a family’s medical bills.

One important way that a court determines whether a physician acted in a manner comporting with accepted medical standards in suggesting a treatment is to analyze the relevant medical literature on the subject. Articles in these types of journals can reveal whether a specific course of treatment was recognized as being safe and effective by the medical community. Attorneys may also need to retain a qualified medical expert who can testify on the doctor’s choice of treatment for a specific patient.

The discoveries regarding gliomas may have important repercussions for the treatment of many different types of cancers, requiring physicians to remain aware of additional advances and possible treatment options.

Call an Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have suffered injury as a result of a medical error, you may be entitled to the recovery of damages for your harm. Please contact Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., for a free consultation.

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