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Finding hope for rare pediatric brain tumor

Finding hope for rare pediatric brain tumor

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, is a highly aggressive, malignant brain tumor found in school-aged children that kills 99 percent of patients. The cancer is so challenging to study that there has been little to no improvement in the understanding of the disease in the past 30 years. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital neurologist Michelle Monje MD, PhD, is trying to change that by studying portions of  tumors donated by families of the children whose lives have been claimed by DIPG.

In a story in today’s San Jose Mercury News, reporter Sandy Kleffman looks at a family who donated their daughter’s cancerous tissue in hopes that it will help researchers develop drugs and therapies. Dave Wetzel, the father of 8-year-old McKenna, who passed away from DIPG in 2011, tells Kleffman that it was Monje’s dedication to the understanding of the disease that led them to donating the tissue to Stanford. “You can tell she really doesn’t care who gets credit for curing cancer,” he said. You can tell this is her life’s passion.”

Monje and her team of scientists have been able to create stem cell lines from the donations and they’ve shared those lines with researchers at other institutions. “I want to know what we can bring to clinical trial as quickly as possible,” she said.

Previously: Big advance against a vicious pediatric brain tumorVideo profiles work of pediatric brain tumor researcher and New Stanford trial targets rare brain tumor


One Response to “ Finding hope for rare pediatric brain tumor ”

  1. Luiginko Says:

    I am very disappointed by media’s spriufecial coverage of Shona Homes, the Waterdown woman who has aided the American right wing by filming a commercial in which she describes herself as a brain tumour survivor whose life was saved because she used the U.S. private system to attend to her health problems. In allowing herself to be used by those U.S. vested interests who oppose any hint of public health care (even though it is the only Western industrialized country that leaves its citizens to the capricious mercy of the private insurers, and seems unbothered by the fact that 50 million Americans have no coverage), there is one major problem: her story as reported isn’t quite true.A quick visit to the Mayo Clinic website ( reveals her actual condition, Rathke’s cleft cyst, described as a rare, fluid-filled sac [that] grows near the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and eventually can cause hormone and vision problems. Nowhere is it described as potentially fatal, a clear contradiction of Ms Holmes’ claim in the commercial that within six months she would have been dead if left to the vagaries of the Canadian health system.I feel especially upset by the propagandizing nature of her commercial due to the fact that last year my brother-in-law died of brain cancer. The truth is that from the moment he was diagnosed (days after he had his initial seizure) to the time he died, he received exemplary and timely care from a team of dedicated specialists employed by our allegedly flawed system in Ontario. Unfortunately, the nature of his brain cancer, multiforme glioblastoma, the same suffered by Ted Kennedy, meant a fatal outcome was inevitable.In my view, despite her anxiety and suffering, Ms Holmes should be ashamed of herself for undermining Barrack Obama’s efforts to bring some humanity to a system that is badly in need of it, and calling into disrepute a Canadian system that we would all be much worse off without.


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