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$20 million Funds Allocated to Support the Development of Treatments for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and other Paediatric Brain Cancers


The Albanese Government has committed up to $20 million over a span of seven years through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to support a comprehensive national research program. This initiative aims to offer new possibilities and assistance to Australian children, adolescents, and young adults battling childhood brain cancers, including Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). The funding will specifically be directed towards clinical trials and essential research endeavors focused on discovering innovative treatments.

Despite the overall survival rate for childhood cancer exceeding 80%, brain cancers remain the most prevalent solid tumors in children. Regrettably, they also represent the deadliest form of cancer in this age group. Among these, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) stands out as a rare and exceptionally aggressive childhood brain cancer, characterized by limited treatment options and dismal prognosis outcomes. Statistics reveal that merely 1 in 10 children diagnosed with DIPG survive beyond two years, and less than 1 in 100 make it to the five-year mark.

As a component of this initiative, the creation of the National Childhood Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Consortium is planned. This Consortium aims to foster collaboration both internationally and across various research disciplines. The goal is to pioneer innovative research approaches for treatment development and enhanced clinical care. By prioritizing improved access to clinical trials for specific populations, the Consortium seeks to expedite the assessment of safety and efficacy for existing and emerging treatments through enhanced data collection and evaluation processes.

Additionally, efforts will be directed towards enhancing the quality of life and survival rates for individuals affected by DIPG and other childhood brain cancers. The $20 million research fund is an extension of the Albanese Government’s ongoing initiatives to offer hope to families dealing with DIPG. This includes facilitating access to an experimental medicine, ONC201 (dordaviprone), which will be accessible to eligible Australian patients through an Expanded Access Program.

The approval of access to ONC201 represents a significant breakthrough. Health Minister Mark Butler personally reached out to the US pharmaceutical company, Chimerix, urging access to the product for an Australian patient. This was facilitated through their Expanded Access Program and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) administered Special Access Program for unapproved medicines.



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