Over the past several decades, improvements in brain tumor therapy – where surgery, oncology and irradiation have merged in various ways to offer real hope – have allowed doctors to concentrate on optimizing a patient’s quality of life and cognitive performance after treatment. For a thalamic glioma, however, where there has been little improvement in treatment options, survival remains the primary goal. This particular type of tumor has not kept pace with other brain tumors.
Thalamic glioma is one of the pediatric brain tumors being studied at the Weill Cornell Children’s Brain Tumor Project (CBTP). The tumors being researched don’t necessarily share a histologic name or other biological factors; what unifies them are several features that have contributed to a lag in improved treatments or survival. The CBTP is focused on tumors including thalamic glioma, gliomatosis cerebri, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), ependymoma and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT), which are united by:
- An infiltrative growth pattern that limits any meaningful surgical removal
- Resistance to conventional therapeutic strategies (irradiation and/or chemotherapy)
- Erroneous grouping with other gliomas
- Neglected scientific effort
- Nonexistent dedicated research funding
- Unremitting clinical course
The CBTP, supported by a family initiative, has made a commitment to put thalamic gliomas front and center in its research portfolio. This groundbreaking effort will for the first time create a comprehensive research structure that is intended to bring new hope and therapeutic options to children and young adults with thalamic gliomas.
Reviewed by Mark M. Souweidane, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: July 2015