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DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma)

We continue our research in the fight against DIPG

DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma) is the most common brainstem tumour found in children, a highly sensitive portion of the brain vital for human beings. As with the majority of growth tumours, it is not known why these malignant cells specifically invade the brainstem so diffusely. It normally occurs in children between 5 and 10 years of age. The symptoms are fairly characteristic, consisting of alterations in facial movement, difficulty in swallowing and walking, and weakness in the arms or legs. These symptoms commonly develop within a few weeks. Unfortunately, there is no curative treatment for this disease.

Our data

Treated cases
since 2010
Cell lines
of research into DIPG

Diagnostic approach

DIPG is a disease that is diagnosed on the basis of the typical symptoms described above and from well-defined radiological criteria in an MRI scan. To this day, a biopsy has proved essential for confirming diagnosis. However, centres of reference such as the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital, which are engaged in research projects and/or clinical trials where the analysis of tumour tissue is essential, value performing this procedure at the time of diagnosis. 

A biopsy usually confirms the existence of a glial-type tumour. Molecular analysis of these tumours has revealed that in the majority (80% of cases) a mutation of the K27M gene is identified in two variants, the H3.3 (60% of cases) and the H3.1 (20% of cases). These molecular changes, in combination with other genetic alterations (e.g. p53, ACVR1, PDGFR), are fundamental in the onset, development and progression of the disease.

Treatment and research of DIPG

Therapeutic approach

Focal radiation therapy (targeting the tumour) is the only treatment that achieves a reduction in the tumour size and improvement in symptoms for the majority of DIPG patient.

It is not covered by public health

Carrying out biopsies in diagnosed patients

Our centre offers biopsies to patients we diagnose. From these samples we try to establish cell lines and animal models.

It is not covered by public health

Molecular study of cases

We characterise molecular markers in lesions with the aim of identifying potential therapeutic targets.

It is not covered by public health

Clinical immunotherapy trial

A clinical trial using dendretic cell-based vaccines is currently underway. Patient recruitment has been completed and the responses obtained are under evaluation. The expected outcomes may form the basis of future versions of this treatment.

Research at SJD Barcelona and worldwide

There is a series of clinical trials currently underway at various centres worldwide which are exploring new treatments targeting this disease.

Participation of families in the research

Numerous families of patients affected by DIPG remain in contact with the hospital and are actively participating in the capture of data. The Fondo Alicia Pueyo is one of these groups and it also provides information to families.
Being part of a clinical trial, thanks to the research, made us face the DIPG in a positive way
Sandra Bestraten, mother of a patient with DIPG