Headaches are one symptom of brain tumours. Photo: Contributed

Brain tumour research focus on genetics

Optimism an effective drug treatment will be found

Ongoing genetic molecular research could offer the solution to finding a cure for brain tumours, says a leading cancer researcher in Canada.

Dr. Nada Jabado says genetic research, aimed at pediatric and young adult astrocytomas, a deadly group of brain tumours, seeks to better understand brain tumour stems cells and their ability to fuel the growth, spread and recurrence of brain tumours in children and adults.

Dr. Nada Jabado

“Our research efforts have come a long way over the last decade. We are not shooting in the dark anymore,” said Jabado.

“We are beginning to decipher genetic mutations present in brain tumours, to look at what that does and how it can be countered.”

Related: Conquering brain cancer

She said a clinical trial this summer will begin to test potential drug treatments developed from the genetic research already completed.

“I can’t say we have a cure for today, and probably not tomorrow, but it is coming. People want to see a better solution than radiation treatments. Doing away with that option is exactly what I want to see happen,” Jabado said.

Jabado is drawing attention to the disease with May being Brain Tumour Awareness Month across Canada. Everyday, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour, adding to the estimated 55,000 people across the country who are currently living with one of the most devastating forms of cancer.

Related: Photographer tackles brain cancer

Brain tumours are deadly, very aggressive and involve treatments applied to the brain, one of the nerve sensitive nerve centre organs in our body.

Jabado says the occurrence of brain tumours is more prevalent because people are living longer, similar to the rise in dementia.

But the trigger points that create brain tumours remain a mystery, one that she hopes genetic research efforts will help unlock.

Symptoms include headaches or seizures, loss of concentration, vomiting, loss of motor skills, loss of strength and problems speaking, all symptoms that cover a range of potential medical issues.

“The brain is difficult to deal with as any organ in our body because every time you touch it, you risk causing side affects that can last forever,” Jabado said.

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