DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) is an aggressive cancerous tumour that develops in the brain stem (pons). This area of the brain controls basic functions like breathing, hearing, talking, vision, etc. Typically DIPG is common in children between 5-10 years of age.
As DIPG develops in a very sensitive area of the brain, operating is not an option for this type of tumor. Radiation therapy is used as a temporary method to shrink and delay the progression of these cancerous tumours whereas chemotherapy has shown no benefit.
DIPG makes up 10-15% of all brain tumours in children and is the leading cause of brain tumour death. Unfortunately there has been little to no progression in research or treatments for this disease in the last 40 years and causes still remain unknown. Every year 30 children in Canada are diagnosed with DIPG, with about 300 cases per year in the United States alone.