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Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Treatment

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a type of high-grade glioma that is found in the brainstem. It is also known as diffuse midline glioma, H3 K27-altered, or brainstem glioma.

DIPG is a highly aggressive tumor that is currently incurable. Due to the poor prognosis, we at St. Jude are committed to identifying novel therapies to improve this outcome.

Learn about DIPG symptoms and more on the Together by St. Jude online resource.

Treatment of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma

Unlike other high-grade gliomas, it is impossible to remove a DIPG tumor with surgery. That is because it invades a part of the brain that controls many important body functions, some of which are crucial for survival. But surgical biopsy (collecting a tissue sample) can be done safely. A biopsy can help doctors make a diagnosis and identify the tumor’s molecular characteristics.

The standard and most effective treatment for DIPG is radiation therapy.

  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from growing. Radiation works for a short time, but it unfortunately does not cure patients with DIPG.

Other treatments being evaluated through clinical trials include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy or cellular therapy.

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma clinical trials

St. Jude clinical trials have produced new, groundbreaking treatments for serious childhood diseases. Our doctors and scientists work together to find better ways to treat patients. In many cases, new treatments are being developed here on the St. Jude campus.

We also take part in trials developed by the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC). Many St. Jude staff members play key roles in developing these studies. They are large studies carried out at multiple centers across the United States. 

Learn more about clinical research at St. Jude.

PBTC45: MK-3475 in Treating Children with Recurrent, Progressive or Refractory HGGs, DIPGs and Hypermutated Brain Tumors

Study goal:

To study the side effects and best dose of MK-3475 (pembrolizumab) and to see how well it works in treating younger patients with high-grade gliomas (brain tumors), diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (brain stem tumors), or hypermutated brain tumors that have come back, progressed or have not responded to previous treatment


Participant is 1 to 18 years of age

PBTC49: Phase 1 Trial of Savolitinib in Recurrent, Progressive or Refractory Medulloblastoma, High-Grade Glioma, or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma

Study goal:

 To see if savolitinib is safe and tolerable in children with brain tumors


Between 5 years old and 21 years old

Loc3CAR: B7-H3-Specific CAR T-Cell Therapy for Children with Primary CNS Tumors

Study goal:

The purpose of this study is to find: 1) the largest dose of Loc3CAR T cells that is safe to give patients with B7-H3–positive brain tumors; 2) the side effects of Loc3CAR T cells; 3) the effect Loc3CAR T cells have on brain tumors. This trial will help scientists better understand how the immune system fights this kind of tumor. What we learn from this study could help us create better treatments.


Up to 21 years old

PEPN2111: Phase 1/2 Trial of CBL0137 for Relapsed or Refractory Solid Tumors and Lymphoma

Study goal:

The main purpose of this study is to find the highest, safest dose of CBL0137 that can be given to children, teens and young adults with solid tumors or lymphoma.


12 months to 21 years old with diagnosis of relapsed or refractory solid tumor or lymphoma (including CNS tumors) or progressive or recurrent DIPG or other H3 K27M-mutant diffuse midline gliomas previously treated with radiation therapy; 12 months to 30 years old with diagnosis of relapsed or refractory osteosarcoma

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma care at St. Jude

St. Jude provides the highest quality of care for patients with DIPG:

  • We bring together medical experts and specially trained staff to care for your child. We also partner with expert brain surgeons (neurosurgeons) at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
  • We have a special team that helps understand the makeup of the tumor. This team includes doctors and scientists who study:
    • Cancer cells
    • How the cancer happened
    • Current medicines and treatments to kill cancer cells
    • What makes cancer cells grow and what new medicines can stop them
    • New medicines and other therapies to improve how treatments work
  • Our brain and spine tumor clinical trials have led to better therapies in children. These improvements include lower-dose therapies, targeted therapy, and proton therapy. These treatments kill cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. They may lessen side effects that affect brain function after treatment for some types of brain tumors.
  • Along with the treatment studies constantly being developed at St. Jude, the staff also treats patients on studies developed by the Children’s Oncology Group, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, and the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium. Many St. Jude staff members play key roles in developing these studies. They are large trials carried out at multiple centers across the United States.
  • St. Jude offers a dedicated team of specialists to meet the needs of children with brain tumors, including:

More reasons to choose St. Jude for care include:

  • We are consistently ranked among the best childhood cancer centers in the nation by US News & World Report.
  • At St. Jude, we have created an environment where children can be children and families can be together.
  • We lead more clinical trials for childhood cancer than any other hospital in the U.S. 
  • St. Jude is the only National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center just for children. A Comprehensive Cancer Center meets rigorous standards for research that develops new and better approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.
  • The nurse-to-patient ratio at St. Jude is about 1:3 in hematology and oncology and 1:1 in the Intensive Care Unit.
  • Patients may be able to get expert, compassionate care and treatment closer to their homes through our St. Jude Affiliate clinics.

Get more information about the Brain Tumor Treatment program at St. Jude.

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Seeking treatment at St. Jude

Patients accepted to St. Jude must have a disease we treat and must be referred by a physician or other qualified medical professional. We accept most patients based on their ability to enroll in an open clinical trial.

How to seek treatment

Contact us

You can start the referral process by letting your physician know you would like a second opinion from St. Jude. They can contact our 24-hour beeper service or contact our brain tumor coordinator. You may also contact the brain tumor coordinator directly with questions.

Learn more about the types of brain tumors we treat at St. Jude and our brain tumor eligibility requirements.

Physician / Patient Referral Office

Call: 1-888-226-4343 (toll-free) or 901-595-4055 (local)  | Email:
Fax: 901-595-4011 | 24-hour pager: 1-800-349-4334

Contact the Brain Tumor Team directly:

Submit brain tumor contact form

Contact the Surgery Team directly:


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