Episode 37: TGen Advances in DIPG Research and the Story of Most Best Days

Michael Berens

Michael Berens Ph.D.

Professor and Director
Cancer and Cell Biology Division

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Hearing the words you have cancer comes as a shock. Hearing that your child has cancer is almost unimaginable. And when you learn that it is a rare form of brainstem cancer known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma or DIPG — a central nervous system cancer that forms from glial cells, the supportive tissue of the brain and spinal cord that affects less than 300 children per year — the questions become endless.  
  Joining TGen Talks is Dr. Michael Berens, professor and director of TGen’s Cancer and Cell Biology Division and head of the Glioma Research Laboratory, whose research efforts focus on conducting genomic profiling of tumors to increase the understanding of DIPG at the genomic level and developing techniques to monitor how tumors are responding to treatment.  
 Brain tumors are now the most common cause of cancer related death in children younger than 15 years of age today, with DIPG accounting for nearly 80 percent of all brain stem cancer cases.  
  Dr. Berens talks about liquid biopsies and the efforts to rewire a misbehaving gene and what influence it could have on regaining control in the body’s cells. He also talks about the real hope in terms of pushing on the boundaries of the disease and explains his mantra “most best days.” It’s worth a listen.