A number of posts in this blog have mentioned the irony that Laura’s brain cancer first struck in the left temporal lobe, the language center of the brain. Language was Laura’s life. She had been a scholar of Spanish literature who became a lawyer. As I was making supper tonight, I heard a piece on All Things Considered that made me think that the first site of Laura’s affliction may not have been as accidental as I had thought.
ATC interviewed Dr. Michelle Monje about a paper she had just published in the medical journal Cell. She and her co-authors found that “high-grade gliomas,” like Laura’s glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), use “the core function of the brain, thinking, to promote” their “own growth.” According to ATC, “Her team found that a range of deadly gliomas grow faster when they’re near highly active nerve cells.”
Dr. Monje is rightfully not satisfied with just getting a better understanding of these elusive deadly cancers. She wants to apply her findings towards finding ways to improve the outcomes for her patients. I do too, But her research does help make a little better sense of why Laura’s glioma hit the language center of her brain first.