The DIPG treatments available today can only stunt the tumor’s growth for a few months and temporarily relieve some symptoms. That’s just not good enough.The Children’s National Brain Tumor Institute and Children’s Research Institute are currently mapping out a four-part, three-year research effort to:
- Study promising new drugs and therapies
- Make treatment more effective and less damaging
- Detect tumors sooner
In the first phase of the project, we’ll categorize different types of DIPG tissue at the molecular and genetic level. We’ll then test promising drugs to testing promising drugs and combinations of drugs against each type of tumor.
The drugs that show the best results in mice – increasing survival and stunting tumor growth – will move on to clinical trials in patients.
Novel Drug Approaches
With robust preclinical data, we plan to launch clinical trials of promising new drugs, including drugs developed at Children's.One such drug is designed to change the way genes are expressed or keep specific genes from copying. Until recently they’ve been used only in labs to study genes, but they hold promise in medicine, too.In fact, our DIPG team has developed drugs that specifically target histone mutations in DIPG. These breakthrough molecules have already been shown to kill DIPG cells in the lab. We believe they could do the same in patients, but with fewer side effects.
Immunotherapy – treatments that activate the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells – has been showing promising results against other forms of cancer and could prove effective against DIPG, too. At Children’s, we’re actively testing alternate immunomodulatory therapies in our DIPG patients. We currently lead a national trial investigating checkpoint inhibitors in children with recurrent DIPG. In the future, our researchers aim to identify specific immunologic targets on DIPG cells. By 2019, we hope to start testing T-cell treatments developed in our Center for Cancer and Immunology Research on DIPG brain tumors.
Support Our DIPG Research
With little federal research money for “rare pediatric” diseases, our DIPG research depends on donations. Please help use raise the more than $2 million we need to launch our visionary DIPG research plan.