DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) is a disease which strikes at the heart of childhood and desperately needs of a cure. DIPG affects the pons portion of the brainstem, rendering nervous system function impossible. Symptoms include double vision, inability to close the eyelids completely, dropping one side of the face, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. Unfortunately these symptoms usually worsen rapidly because of the rapid growth of the tumor. The cancer tissue (of gray matter) is infused with the good brain matter making surgery nearly impossible.
DIPG affects primarily children 5-8 years old (whose treatment has historically led to innovations in many other forms of cancer), and with a "dismal" prognosis, alternatives are few. It is one of the most resistant cancers to chemotherapy treatments. Radiation is the most common form of treatment and has potential to reduce symptoms for a few months, but no treatment or clinical trial has proven to have any significant effect on life expectancy for these children. Since 1962, when astronaut Neil Armstrong lost his young daughter, Karen, to DIPG protocols for treatment and life expectancy have not changed.
This disease, like most childhood cancers, is considered “rare,” and there is little to no government funding to pay for the research needed to find answers. Because of underfunding, research is limited, but the cure has to start now. The Cure Starts Now, strives to generate the resources necessary for doctors to study DIPG and implement the findings in hope of curing DIPG, and hopefully all childhood cancers.