As reported in EurekAlert!, by University of California, San Francisco, treating brain tumors in children come at a particularly high cost. More than 50 percent of patients who endure radiation therapy for brain tumors experience irreversible cognitive decline, a side effect that has particularly damaging consequences for younger patients. In a new UCSF study, investigators confirmed that it is the immune system’s response to radiation therapy—not the brain tumor—that causes cognitive decline. Moreover, the UCSF study’s mouse model revealed that a drug that temporarily suppresses a key component of the brain’s immune system can prevent radiation-associated cognitive decline. Funding for this study was supported in part by an Institute award to UCSF from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
Nalin Gupta, MD, PhD