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What is DIPG?

A diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is an aggressive type of childhood cancerous tumor that forms in the brain stem. That’s the area at the base of your brain that connects the brain to the spine. The brain stem controls most of your basic functions: vision, hearing, talking, walking, eating, breathing, heart rate, and more.

Gliomas are tumors that grow from glial cells, which are found throughout the nervous system. They surround and support nerve cells, called neurons.

DIPG is difficult to treat, and it most often develops in children between the ages of 5 and 9. However, DIPG can affect anyone at any age. The condition is rare. About 300 children a year are diagnosed with DIPG in the United States.

Treatments

DIPG-brain-scan

Cancer patients with grim prognoses may resort to intra-arterial chemotherapy as compassionate use treatment, since it may reduce cancer symptoms, increase survival rates, and minimize drug side effects.

The treatment provided by IDOI for DIPG is an option even after patients have received traditional treatment in their country of origin.

A European Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOPE) and the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) collaborative report, which gathers records of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and was published in July 2018, reveals that the average survival rate in more than 700 cases is 11 months.


As of early-2019, IDOI has treated over 70 patients with an average age of 9 years diagnosed with DIPG. After treatment, the median survival is 24 months (Kaplan-Meier). Just over 90 percent of the patients had over 1 year of survival and 50 percent more than 2 years of survival. The Institute continues to advance and improve.


IDOI stands out as an institution by virtue of its statistics, since it has 10 percent of the SIOPE and SIOP patient registry, and for obtaining more favorable patient outcomes on average.

According to the American Cancer Society, chemotherapy is used as a treatment with various aims:
If possible, chemotherapy is used to cure cancer, meaning that the cancer is destroyed – it goes away and doesn’t come back.

Most doctors don’t use the word “cure” except as a possibility or intention. So, when giving treatment that has a chance of curing a person’s cancer, the doctor may describe it as treatment with curative intent.

There are no guarantees, and though cure may be the goal, it doesn’t always work out that way. It often takes many years to know if a person’s cancer is really cured.
If cure is not possible, the goal may be to control the disease. Chemotherapy is used to shrink tumors and/or stop the cancer from growing and spreading. This can help the person with cancer feel better and live longer.

In many cases, the cancer doesn’t completely go away, but is controlled and managed as a chronic disease, much like heart disease or diabetes. In other cases, the cancer may even seem to have gone away for a while, but it’s expected to come back. Then chemotherapy can be given again.
Chemotherapy can also be used to ease symptoms caused by the cancer. This is called palliative chemotherapy or palliation.

When the cancer is at an advanced stage, meaning it’s not under control and has spread from where it started to other parts of the body, the goal may be to improve the quality of life or help the person feel better. For instance, chemotherapy may be used to help shrink a tumor that’s causing pain or pressure.
The compassionate use programs around the world offer patients access to treatments and drugs otherwise outside their reach when the following characteristics are present:

  • Patient has a serious disease or condition, or whose life is immediately threatened by their disease or condition.
  • There is no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy to diagnose, monitor, or treat the disease or condition.
  • Potential patient benefit justifies the potential risks of treatment.
*Taken from the Expanded access FDA page.