Though currently available clinical treatments and therapies have clearly extended the survival of patients with brain tumors, many of these advances are short lived, particularly with respect to high grade gliomas such as glioblastoma multiforme. The missing link to an efficacious treatment of high grade gliomas is a more complete understanding of the basic molecular and cellular origin of brain tumors. However, new discoveries of stem cell and developmental neurobiology have now borne the cancer stem cell hypothesis, drawing off of intriguing similarities between benign and malignant cells within the central nervous system. Investigation of cancer stem cell hypothesis and brain tumor propagation is the current frontier of stem cell and cancer biology. Neurosurgery is also watching closely this promising new area of focus. "Molecular neurosurgery", glioma treatments involving biologics using neural stem cells to target the cancer at the level of individual migratory cell, is a rapidly evolving field. This coming progression of applied cancer stem cell research, coupled with current modalities, promises more comprehensive brain cancer interventions.