Lab Update: Fall 2016, A DIPG Milestone

Dr. Jeffrey Greenfield and Dr. Mark Souweidane, co-directors of the Weill Cornell Children's Brain Tumor ProjectAs many of you probably read about on Facebook, on September 8 we treated the final patient in our Phase I clinical trial of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). The trial, which had enrolled 27 patients over the past four years, was designed to test the safety of CED as a means of delivering a cancer-fighting drug directly to the site of a DIPG tumor. Four patients received a second infusion, bringing the total number of treatments to 31.

This trial has generated a wealth of information, and we have already started publishing academic papers about it, sharing our discoveries with other researchers in the spirit of collaboration that drives this project. Details of the infusion technique, the imaging studies, and other learning that will assist other researchers worldwide have already appeared in academic journals. The “big one,” providing data on the safety of the procedure, will probably take a year or more to prepare for publication. But with no dose-limiting toxicity in any patient, we feel confident that the technique is a safe way to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to a DIPG tumor.

The next steps are to identify the most promising drugs to test in future phases of this trial. Fortunately, thanks to our generous donors the legwork on that has already begun. Be sure to read our update on the results of our “summer sprint,” the unprecedented effort that brought a dedicated team of young researchers into the lab in July and August to help us lay the foundation for future trials.

These talented young investigators didn’t work only on DIPG, however. The drugs they evaluated, the molecular modifications they tested, and the other innovative lines of research they pursued will be of invaluable help as we continue to forge this path. Thank you all, again, for the continued loyal support that allows us to do this important work.