Mission and Vision
The DIPG/DMG Center Zurich is focusing on developing and implementing improved therapies for children diagnosed with DIPG/DMGs. The Program consists of a clinical and a translational research entity which reside within the Division of Oncology, University Children’s Hospital of Zurich, a non-profit hospital supported by the Eleonore Foundation. The DIPG/DMG Center in Zurich is a joint effort with the University of San Francisco, California (UCSF) allowing patients to receive the most up to date information.
Our mission is to develop and establish improved therapeutic measures to reach prolongation of the overall survival times.
About the Problem
It is recognized worldwide that over 1000 children die every year following being diagnosed with a specific brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)/Diffuse Midline Glioma (DMG). These tumors arise in the midline structures of the brain such as the thalamus, pons as well as spinal cord.
Over the last 50 years, clinical trials have not resulted in improved outcome for children diagnosed with DMGs. Radiotherapy -the only standard of care- often results in a transient tumor response but does not significantly impact the long-term outcome. The mean overall survival for diagnosed children with DMGs is about 9-12 months. However, in recent years, due to analyses of postmortem DIPG tumor specimens as well more and more upfront tissue sampling, our understanding of the biology of these tumors has significantly improved and it is now clear that DMGs including DIPGs are a heterogeneous group of tumors requiring a personalized therapy approach. Given the heterogeneity on a molecular level of these tumors, a “One size fits all” approach will not improve the outcome for these children.
From Bench to Bedside
Within our research center we evaluate and investigate new therapeutic options that can be transferred to the clinic.
We are focusing on the following topics:
- Overcoming the blood brain barrier
- Drug screening with patient derived tumor cells
- Establishment of new predictive and scalable pre-clinical models
- Biomarker analysis
- Novel drug and drug combination discovery