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Study Points to Possible New DIPG Treatment

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There may be a new, effective treatment for one of the deadliest brain tumors in children.

The results of a study published by Dr. Mark Souweidane, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Weill Cornell Medicine, found convection-enhanced delivery (CED) safe to use in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Lancet Oncology.

DIPG is a rare tumor of the brain stem that occurs almost exclusively in children. Most children with the disease die within nine months to a year of diagnosis.

Surgery is typically not a treatment option because of the tumor's structure and because of its location in the brain stem, a delicate structure that controls basic functions like breathing. Chemotherapy is mostly ineffective. Radiation treatments can help alleviate symptoms but do not destroy the tumor.

Dr. Souweidane theorized that CED could help treat DIPG by delivering medication directly to the tumor. CED uses a small, surgically-placed tube to direct treatment agents to the tumor site.

Patients responded well to the procedure, according to the study, raising hopes that this could be an effective treatment for DIPG. CED drastically increased the concentration of the drug at the tumor site, while avoiding the dangerous systemic toxicity that accompanies IV or oral chemotherapy, researchers found.

Learn more about the study, and how it may impact DIPG treatment.