Help us give our kids hope
WHAT IS DIPG?
Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) are highly aggressive and difficult to treat brain tumors found in an area of the brainstem (the lowest, stem-like part of the brain) called the pons, which controls many of the body’s most vital functions such as breathing, blood pressure, swallowing, and heart rate.
DIPGs account for 10-15% percent of all childhood central nervous system tumors. Approximately three hundred children in the U.S. are diagnosed with DIPG each year. While DIPGs are usually diagnosed when children are between the ages of 5 and 9, they can occur at any age in childhood.
Unfortunately, the survival rate for DIPG is very low. A diagnosis of DIPG is essentially a death sentence for the child. Only 10% of children with DIPG will survive two years following diagnosis, and less than 1% survive five years, with a median survival rate of nine months.
“Pediatric cancer research receives only a fraction of the money that adult cancer research gets, and it’s decreasing. In 2013, the NCI (National Cancer Institute) invested $185.1 million from a $4.79 billion budget in pediatric cancer research, the lowest amount since 2009.” Source: Children’s Cancer is Unprofitable and Ignored, Megan Scuddelari, Newsweek July 20, 2015
Treatment for DIPGs has remained relatively unchanged for the last thirty years. Current protocol consists of six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high energy rays (radiation) from a specialized machine to damage or kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Conventional limited-field radiation produces responses in more than 90% of children with DIPGs. These responses are short-lived, however, lasting about six to nine months on average. Several trials to increase the dose of radiation therapy have been performed and none have improved survival.
Only 10% of children with DIPG will survive 2 years following diagnosis, and less than 1% survive 5 years, with a median survival rate of 9 months
More than 40,000 kids are in cancer treatment every year
1 out of 8 children with cancer will not survive and 60% of children who survive will suffer long-term effects such as infertility, heart failure, and secondary cancers
In the last 20 years only 3 cancer drugs have been specifically developed for children
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children
Brain tumors are the leading cause of death among children with cancer Source: curesearch.org