Brain Stem Glioma is a tumor located in the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord (the brain stem). It may grow rapidly or slowly, depending on the grade of the tumor. The Brainstem controls breathing, heart rate, and nerves and muscles used in seeing, hearing, walking, talking, and eating.
There are many types of gliomas. Joshua had a Diffuse Intrinsic Pointine Glioma which is one of the deadliest of all gliomas.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pointine Glioma is a tumor that spreads widely throughout the brain stem. A biopsy usually is not done for this type of glioma because of its location and it cannot be removed by surgery. A diffuse tumor means that cancer cells are intermittently interspersed among healthy cells. Think of it as throwing sand into a patch of grass; the grains of sand are the tumor.
Brain tumors are the leading cause of deaths from childhood cancer. Treatments have not improved in more than 20 years due to a severe lack of research funding.
Pediatric Brain Tumors are more deadly than blood tumors and other solid tumors, and none are more devastating than DIPG. Relative to other kinds of tumors, there are fewer people and less dollars being spent on Brain Tumors.
The only way advances in the cure of gliomas, DIPG and cancer in general will be made is through research.
Less than 2% of federal funding is directed towards research in solving children’s cancer.
While we can’t do it all, we can do our part to ensure progress is being made, with or without federal funding.
The more research that is done the more likely breakthroughs will be made.
DIPG is one of the most underfunded of all pediatric brain tumors. There have been no advances in the treatment of this tumor in the past 50 years.
Also, vital to finding a cure to DIPG is studying the actual tumor tissue. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is collecting tumor tissue so that they can better understand the genetic makeup of these tumors.
We support the research efforts of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Memphis, Tennessee. For More Information on St. Jude see their website www.stjude.org. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is ranked the nation's most trusted charity.