Neuropathology Division
   Brain Tumor Research

Welcome to the Neuropathology Division Brain Tumor Research Web Site at Hopkins

MRI image of a brain

The Neuropathology Division of the Johns Hopkins University Department of Pathology is a leader in brain tumor research. This Web site describes the ways in which our team of clinical neuropathologists and research scientists are attempting to improve the lives of patients with Central Nervous System (CNS) cancer. Over 50,000 benign and malignant brain tumors are diagnosed each year in the United States. Our goal is to identify the genetic changes that make these tumors grow, and to discover cures that will allow them to be safely treated.

Brain Tumors in Children

Brain tumors are the second most common pediatric cancer, and represent the leading cause of death from solid tumors. The Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States estimates that 3,750 children were diagnosed with primary brain tumors in 1997. A number of different brain tumors can arise in children, and they are named based on the type of brain cell they resemble under the microscope. For example, tumors made up of cells resembling astrocytes are known as “astrocytomas”. The type of brain tumor, and its location in the nervous system, plays a large role in the therapy used, and in the ultimate outcome for the patient. Our research is focused on the most common brain tumors in children. These include low-grade cancers called pilocytic/pilomyxoid astrocytomas, as well as the most common malignant tumors, which are known as medulloblastoma/PNET.

Brain Tumors in Adults

The most frequently diagnosed malignant brain tumors in adults are known as glioblastoma. These are extremely aggressive cancers, and are usually fatal. Currently, less than 10% of patients over 55 years of age diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor will live five years, and more effective cures are desperately needed.