The primary treatment options available for children with DIPG include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and participation in clinical trials. Due to the tumor’s infiltrative nature, surgery is typically not an option for DIPG treatment.
4.1 Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy is considered the only approved standard of care for children with newly diagnosed DIPG. It is the most effective initial treatment in relieving symptoms and potentially slowing tumor growth. Radiation therapy is administered by radiation oncologists and involves directing targeted beams of radiation at the tumor site, with the aim of damaging the cancer cells while minimizing harm to healthy tissue.
Chemotherapy drugs are designed to kill cancer cells, but their effectiveness in treating DIPG has historically been limited. However, ongoing research and clinical trials are exploring new chemotherapy drugs, drug combinations, and biologic agents that may be more effective in managing DIPG. A patient’s eligibility for these treatments may depend on individual factors, including age, general health, and tumor characteristics.
4.3 Clinical Trials
Children with DIPG might have the option to participate in clinical trials testing new treatment approaches. These trials are a critical part of the process of developing new therapies and can potentially offer children access to otherwise unavailable treatment options. It’s essential to discuss potential trial participation with your child’s medical team to understand the potential risks, benefits, and eligibility criteria.