Searching for Treatments

Though the treatment of childhood cancers has improved in recent decades, some forms of the disease remain difficult to crack. Among the most notorious are diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG)—aggressive brain tumors diagnosed in 300 children a year in the U.S. No therapy currently exists for DIPG and average survival after diagnosis is nine months.

Harnessing our own defenses against cancer

Using a patient’s genetic information to tailor treatment is central to genomic medicine, and nowhere has genomics made a greater impact than in cancer. Thanks to advances in technology and affordable sequencing, oncologists are now able to customize treatments for some cancer patients based on the specific mutations of their tumors. However, limitations still exist: available drugs only work for a small number of patients and drug resistance often occurs.