BiographyEdward Moore Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1932. His father was a multimillionaire businessman. Because his family moved frequently, Kennedy attended several different private schools. After graduation he enrolled at Harvard University. Kennedy then enlisted for a two-year term in the army23.pngHe also won an assignment as a guard to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Paris. After completing his time in the army, Kennedy retuned to Harvard and graduated in 1956. He then enrolled he University of Virginia Law School, where his natural talent for debate was sharpened. In 1962 he was elected to the former U.S. Senate seat of his brother John Kennedy, who had become president in 1960. Elected Democratic majority whip in 1969, Ted was considered a front-runner for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. In 1969 he was involved in a car accident. Kennedy was found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident. Though he was reelected to the Senate in 1970, he decided against seeking the presidency in 1972. He won a third full term in 1976 and was again a serious contender for the Democratic nomination in 1980, but he withdrew during the convention. Throughout the remainder of the 20th century and into the 21st he continued to represent Massachusetts in the Senate. In 2008 he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, to which he succumbed in August 2009.What is Glioma?

Sen. Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a maligant glioma, a type of brain tumor that's rare and aggressive and has frighteningly low survival rates. Gilomas originate in the gilan cells in the brain. Glial cells are the tissue that surrounds and supports neurons in the brain. These tumors arise from three different types of cells that are normally found in the brain: astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and ependymal cells. Gliomas are called intrinsic brain tumors because they reside within the substance of the brain and often intermix with normal brain tissue.There are different grades of gliomas; however, they are often referred to as "low-grade" or "high-grade" gliomas. The low or high grade designation reflects the growth potential and agressiveness of the tumor. Ted Kennedy had "high graes" glioms.



Symptoms of a glioma are similar to other malignant brain tumors and depend on the location of tumor within the brain and on the areas of the brain affected. The most common symptom is headache, affecting about half of all people with a brain tumor. Other symptoms include: seizures, memory loss, difficulty speaking, language problems, and impairment of balance, nausea /vomiting, personality changes, and difficulty with vision. These symptoms may change overtime according to which part of the brain is affected. Symptoms may worsen or changes as the tumor continues to grow and destroys brain cells, compress parts of brain, and causes swelling in the brain and pressures in the skull. As the tumor grows, it puts pressure on the brain and its tissues. This pressure can affect the way the blood flows and also damage brain.


There is no obvious cause of glioma. This type of brain tumor affects all ages, but is more common in adults. Gliomas are slightly more common in men than in women and more common in Caucasian people than in African-American people. Some tumors tend to be hereditary so people who inherit specific genes may be more likely to develop a brain tumor. In other cases, a person's genes may change as they grow. Environmental factors such as food, radiation, or chemicals may cause these changes to genes.


Different treatment options are considered for malignant glioma, depending on the location of the tumor, and type of glioma. Patient’s age and physical conditions may also play major role in determining treatment. Traditional treatment options for malignant gilomas include: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, supportive therapy and clinical trials.

1. Surgery

Tumor removal with surgery is the basis of treatment because realitively healthy brain functions, speech, and mobility can be maintained. Imaging techniques such as PET scanning and functional MRI may be used to assist the surgeon in removing the tumor. The goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging normal neurological functions. By removal of tumor can destroy symptoms caused by the mass tumor and improve the effectiveness of other therapies. Also, Recurrences of the tumor are frequent.

2. Radiation and chemotherapy

Radiation therapy, which uses X-rays or other radiation to kill the cancers cells and Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to stop the cancer cell growth are used as secondary treatments. Even when the entire tumor appears to be removed by surgery, sometimes high-grades gliomas appears to come back. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells and kills remaining tumor cells. By using combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, patient may improve survival and quality of life in some patients with high-grades gliomas. The drug that mostly used in chemotherapy is temozolomide. There are chances of side effects during treatment.

3. Supportive Therapy

Supportive therapy to improve symptoms and neurologic function. These therapies are corticosteroids to reduce swelling in the brain caused by the tumor which helps relieve headaches and neurologic signs, and anticonvulsants to control or prevent seizures.


According to current studies, Approximately 13,000 deaths and 18,000 new cases of primary malignant brain and central nervous system tumors occur annually in the US; approximately 77% of these brain gliomas. Primary brain and central nervous system tumors rank first among cancer types for the average years of life lost. Gliomas account for almost 80% of primary malignant brain tumors, and they result in more years of life lost than do any other tumors.


THERE IS HOPE! There are many organizations that now do research on brain tumor. Mayo Clinic doctors and scientists in the Neuro-Oncology Program are actively involved in the latest research on gliomas and other brain tumors. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is the only multisite cancer center in the nation. The goals of the Neuron-Oncology program are to indentify risk factors the lead to development and progression, develop new treatment that reduce symptoms, and improve survival and quality of life. Also, TGEN (The Translational Genomics Research Institute) created a nonprofit institute to research different types of brain tumors. They have created Glioma Research Lab to understand the specific mechanisms, and design treatments to target these tumors. Also, current research has been going on all around the nation to try to fight brain cancer and completely cure it.


The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,000 Americans a year are diagnosed with brain tumors; about 10,000 are gliobastomas (Glioma). There is no evidence that suggest why Sen. Kennedy develops brain cancer. Also, His father and mother didn’t had any brain cancer that might pass on Sen. Kennedy. He first developed seizure while a celebratory lunch that took place in the Capitol's Statuary Hall in honor of the new President. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a battery of tests, including a biopsy, and identified a cancerous mass on the top left portion of his brain as the cause of his seizure. A statement by Dr. Lee Schwamm suggested that Kennedy had severe narrowing of the left carotid artery and underwent surgery just 6 months ago. This might caused seizure to Ted. Sen. But, this was not the case. After, Ted. Kennedy got his brain surgery successfully done, the doctor revile that tumor in the left parietal lobe was responsible for the seizure. Kennedy was on radiation and chemotherapy to help eliminate any remaining fragments of the tumor that the operation may have left behind. In the end, the doctor said that “regardless of how well Kennedy's body tolerates these treatments, he will be facing a cancer with a high rate of mortality.” This shows an example of no matter what treatments you do, cancer can still get you. Indeed, can got Sen. Kennedy. Edward Kennedy didn’t create a cancer research organization, however there are some small organizations do research about Gliomas and cancers.