Chemotherapy, often referred to as chemo, is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).
When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, or brain, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy is treatment using more than one anticancer drug. To treat brain tumors, a dissolving wafer may be used to deliver an anticancer drug directly to the brain tumor site after the tumor has been removed by surgery. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type of tumor and where it is in the brain.
As researchers have learned more about how our genes affect cancer growth, they have used this knowledge to fight brain tumors and other cancers. These newer treatments are showing some good effectiveness for treating tumors that may be resistant to other treatments. Many targeted therapies are used to slow down the growth of blood vessels in the tumor. This is effective because tumors need extra blood to grow larger.
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.