Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a leading cause of brain cancer-related death in children. These aggressive high-grade gliomas cannot be effectively treated and are associated with dismal prognosis. Whilst radiation therapy (RT) prolongs survival, it is a palliative therapy, as half of children with DIPG die within 1 year of diagnosis and almost all are dead by 2 years. These statistics have not changed for decades, despite a multitude of clinical trials. No chemotherapeutic regimen has been shown to improve survival, emphasizing the need to find novel and effective treatments. One of the principal reasons for this poor outcome was our limited knowledge of the biology of DIPG’s. Due to their location in brainstem, surgical resection is not feasible and up until recently, even performing a limited biopsy was considered too dangerous. In the last decade, DIPG tumor tissue has become available through autopsies and biopsies. This combined with the genome revolution has resulted in a transformation in our understanding of the underlying biology of this disease. Moreover, viable DIPG cells can now be grown in the laboratory which have allowed development of in-vitro (neurospheres) and in-vivo models (allograft and xenograft). This chapter summarizes recent advances in DIPG and potential novel therapies.
Part of the book: Brain Tumors