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Brain and spinal tumors are masses of cells that have grown out of control. This uncontrolled growth results from changes directly in the tumor cell’s genes. Patients often want to know if brain tumors are hereditary. However, they are not. Some hereditary diseases are linked to brain tumors, but these are very rare diseases.
Researchers at Stanford are working hard to figure out what causes these changes in the cell’s DNA (genetic material). It is known that some causes are environmental while others are genetic. Most primary brain tumors are not associated with any known risk factors and have no obvious cause, but there are a few factors, both genetic and environmental, that may raise the risk of brain tumors. Many researchers at Stanford are studying the cause of primary brain tumors so that they can develop novel and improved methods of treating brain cancer.
People who work in oil refining, rubber manufacturing, and with chemicals may have a higher incidence of certain types of tumors. Which chemical toxins may be related to an increase in tumors not known at this time. Individuals who have received radiation therapy to the head as part of prior treatment for other malignancies are also at an increased risk for new brain tumors.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.