Causes of DIPG
Researchers do not yet know what causes DIPG. Like most cancers, DIPG occurs when something goes wrong with the process of cell reproduction. However, unlike many other cancers, there is no evidence that indicates DIPG is caused by environmental factors (exposure to chemicals or radiation), or specific inherited genetic variations.
Understanding What Cancer Is
Cells use DNA, the building blocks of genes, in order to carry out various functions, including making more cells. Sometimes pieces of DNA become damaged or are copied incorrectly. Scientists call this a mutation. Usually, cells with mutations in their DNA either repair the mutation or die (a process called apoptosis). Sometimes, though, cells with mutations can’t be repaired and don’t die like they are supposed to. In certain cases, these mutated cells begin to divide quickly, which may cause a person to develop cancer.
Gaining A Better Understanding of DIPG
Due to the increase in availability of tumor specimens through the DIPG Registry, our understanding of the biology of DIPG has advanced considerably in recent years. Researchers have begun to understand the exact genetic mutations involved with DIPG through the use of genetic sequencing. They have discovered the most common mutations involved in DIPG, and are now working to better understand these mutations, in order to engineer new drugs or repurpose preexisting drugs that will be able to effectively treat DIPG.