Glioblastoma - or glioblastoma multiforme - is an aggressive type of brain tumor for which there is currently no cure and which usually results in death within a few months of diagnosis. This type of tumor mainly occurs in middle-aged adults. Although younger people are thought to have stronger immune systems, and thus better protection against this type of tumor, it would appear that this protection disappears as we get older.
The Anni-Hofmann-Stiftung (Anni Hofmann Foundation) is dedicated to exclusively supporting glioblastoma research. The Foundation wishes to support research aimed at investigating the role of the human immune system in glioblastoma in the hope of finding ways of regenerating and stabilizing it.
Research into this particular area of research is well under way, with results providing some hope as to the potential benefits of this approach. We hope that the support provided by the Anni Hofmann Foundation will help to strengthen and promote this very promising new area of research.
Human Stem Cells
The human brain contains tissue-specific stem cells (which are thought to remain active well into old age). There is a specific region of the brain, which is found along the lateral ventricles, and which contains cells referred to as neural stem cells and neural progenitor cells. The exact role of these neural stem and progenitor cells (in the human body), however, remains to be fully elucidated.
It appears likely that tumors in the cerebrum develop as a result of degenerative processes (caused by genetic mutations) affecting the stem cells and progenitor cells, which are situated along the lateral ventricles.
The majority of these mutations affect signal transduction pathways that are responsible for regulating stem cell and progenitor cell growth, and thus lead to an uncontrolled proliferation of these cells.
Interaction with the parenchyma
These brain tumors (gliomas) then interact with the surrounding, healthy brain cells (parenchyma).
As the tumors continue to grow, they prompt the formation of their own network of blood vessels (angiogenesis), invade new regions of the brain (i.e. they are invasive), actively suppress the brain's immune response system (thus avoiding being attacked by immune cells) and destroy surrounding tissues in order to be able to continue growing.