Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glimoma (DIPG) is a brain tumor found in the pons, a part of the brainstem that controls essential bodily functions such as heartbeat, breathing, swallowing, eye movement, eyesight, and balance. DIPG affects children almost exclusively, typically between the ages 5 and 10.
DIPG is an aggressive tumor that interferes with all bodily functions, depriving a child of the ability to move, to communicate, and even to drink. Children with DIPG commonly experience double vision, reduced eye movement, facial weakness or asymmetry, and arm and leg weakness. They also have problems with walking, coordination, speech, chewing, and swallowing. As the tumor progresses, it also interferes with breathing and heartbeat, which ultimately results in the child’s death.
LACK OF FUNDING
Cancer research is typically funded by three sources:
The government, private industry, and charitable foundations.
Those sources combine to spend more than $10 billion on cancer research per year in the United States. For DIPG, however, there is virtually no funding from the government or private industry. The entire amount spent annually on DIPG research- almost all of which comes from charitable foundations- is $3 to 5 million, or less than 0.0005% of the total funding for cancer research. Only 4 cents per every dollar allocated for pediatric cancer