DIPG Awareness Day – what we’re doing to find a cure

2 min read

On DIPG Awareness Day, we’re sharing how Brain Tumour Research is working to find a cure for this aggressive paediatric tumour type. Our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, Dr Karen Noble, tells us more:

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is an aggressive, high-grade brain tumour, most often occurring in children. It was previously known as a grade 4 brain stem glioma and most recently renamed diffuse midline glioma.

DIPG fact file:

  • DIPG is the deadliest form of childhood cancer with a median overall survival of between eight and 12 months
  • DIPG accounts for 10-20% of all brain tumours in young children
  • It is a diffuse tumour type meaning it does not have a clear boundary, instead it infiltrates healthy brain tissue
  • Treatment is most commonly radiotherapy, which has the best evidence for prolonging survival compared to surgery or chemotherapy

More information about the symptoms, causes and treatments for DIPG can be viewed on our website here.

How can we find a cure for DIPG?

The pioneering research which Brain Tumour Research is funding at our dedicated Centres of Excellence will help us get closer to our vision of finding a cure for all types of brain tumours, including DIPG.

We have created a specialist hub focused on paediatric research at our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London with new researchers working towards developing new treatments for DIPG and other tumours which occur in children including medulloblastoma, childhood glioblastoma and ependymoma.

We are building capacity and, thanks to a generous donation from our Member Charity, The Children’s Brain Tumour Foundation, Alexandra Hadaway (pictured) has joined the team. Alexandra will be working on DIPG and her research is also likely to bring further insight into other types of tumours.

Her research focus will be analysing epigenetic regulation within these paediatric tumours, the biological relevance of this epigenetic regulation and how this is important to tumour development. Specifically, she will focus on the interactions of a promising complex that has been studied in medulloblastoma to see if that work is relevant in other brain tumours.

Watch this video to hear more about Alexandra’s research:


The team at Queen Mary is also focused on using GBM stem cells to help develop unique, patient-specific treatments. Their findings are expected to translate into other types of adult and paediatric brain tumours, including DIPG.

At our Research Centre at Imperial College, London, the team is working collaboratively with other research institutions to investigate the effectiveness of arginine-depleting drugs in the treatment of high-grade glioma brain tumours. They are also studying the way in which the ketogenic diet works in brain cancer, including its potential effects of patients diagnosed with DIPG / brain stem glioma / diffuse midline glioma brain tumours.

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