About DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma)

About DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma)

DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, is a type of brain tumour found in an area of the brainstem (the part of the brain just above the back of the neck, connected to the spine) known as the pons.

The brain stem controls breathing, heart rate and the nerves and muscles that help us see, hear, walk, talk and eat. These tumours are called gliomas because they grow from glial cells, a type of supportive cell in the brain.

Without treatment, the progression of DIPG is usually rapid. Median survival time with treatment is less than one year.

According to St Jude’s Hospital, about 10% to 20% of all childhood brain tumours are DIPG or brainstem gliomas.


The most common symptoms related to DIPG include the following:

  • Problems with balance and walking
  • Problems with the eyes (including double vision, drooping eyelids, uncontrolled eye movements, blurred vision)
  • Problems with chewing and swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Morning headache or headache that gets better after the child vomits
  • Facial weakness or drooping (usually one side)


  • Radiation therapy — currently, is the primary therapy for newly diagnosed DIPG in children older than 3.
  • Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy and biologic therapy in combination with radiation therapy is actively being investigated as a treatment for DIPG. Several trials evaluating new agents are either underway or have been recently completed. With a biopsy of the tumour at diagnosis, the selection of drugs targeted to your child’s tumour can be determined. Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated that routine chemotherapy does not increase survival rates.
  • Surgery — is rarely used to diagnose DIPG because of the risks involved in surgery in this area of the brain. There are cases where a biopsy can be obtained safely, but the use of surgery to remove the tumour is very rare.
    • A biopsy (removal of affected tissue to be examined) may be done to decide the tumour’s type and grade.
    • If the biopsy finds cancer cells and the patient is still in surgery, the surgeon may take out as much tumour as can be removed safely. Depending on where the tumour is located, this might not be an option.

What we can do 

We’re currently committing funding to DIPG/DMG Collaborative – a collection of foundations with the common interest of inspiring research into the cure of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) with the belief that through a cure for DIPG, significant advances in other cancer research will be made. We’re also partially funding Professor Terry Johns’ experimental research at Telethon Kids, read more here

Our mission is to help change the odds for young people with brain cancer, we do this via funding critical, research and development projects. You can help by donating to our foundation here