DIPG/DIPT Discussion

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A searchable blog on DIPG research, DIPG news, recent publications, DIPG Foundations, DIPG researchers, clinical trials as well as other issues relating to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Tumors- both Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPGs) and Atypical Pontine Lesions (APLs).

For parents, family and friends of children with DIPG looking for information and connection to others dealing with DIPG please check the buttons on the right hand side for resources.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Voices on Pediatric DIPG Biopsy- Mark Kieran MD PhD

ASCO 2012 Education Session Presentation

The third speaker on the 2012 ASCO session was Mark Kieran from Boston presenting "Identification of Novel Biologic Targets in the Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma".  Certainly Dr Kieran has been enduring in his passionate belief that non-treated tissue is going to be critical to the understanding and hopefully cure of DIPG.   He has worked much of the past decade to bring the standard of care for typical pediatric DIPG in line with advancements in neurosurgical techniques and cancer molecular biology research.  The video announcing that DIPG biopsy would be an educational session at 2012 ASCO much have provided a sense of satisfaction that this issue had reached prominence enough to be discussed at a significant cancer meeting. (click here to watch announcement video)

The first video I saw of Dr Kieran discussing this advancements in neurosurgery and cancer molecular biology research that makes DIPG biopsy possible and critical in understanding pediatric DIPGs was back in 2009.   The first international DIPG conference in Barcelona, Spain sponsored by the Alicia Pueyo Foundation included a presentation on this issue.  (click here for video)  The 2012 video shows how far we have come in the DIPG community as well as with cancer molecular biology.

Dr Kieran points out that the understanding DIPG biology is in it's infancy.    Few existing publications are on non-treated (biopsy specimens).  Treatment has the potential of significantly altering the genomics of a tumor.   However, there have been some consistencies:
* P53 loss/mutation is present in a significant number of tumors.
* The RTK-Ras-PI3K-Akt pathway is altered in a number of tumors. 
* PTEN loss might mean that mTOR might be a target.
* Hedgehog-dependent cancer stem cells might be a target.

Regardless of the ultimate biology of DIPG, we can definitely say that DIPG is different from both adult and pediatric high grade gliomas.   Treatment for kids with DIPG can not be based on these other tumors.

There is a caveat- just finding drugable targets might not alter the outcome with DIPG.  So for this approach has not changed the prognosis in adult GBMs despite a huge amount of available tissue.  We are at the beginning.   We don't know yet.   There is hope and optimism that this is a start. 

From boos to hope: Challenging the dogma about deadly brain stem gliomas