Researchers with University of Iowa Healthcare optimistic about potential cure for rare brain cancer

Researchers with University of Iowa Healthcare have been reviewing ways to attack a rare form of brain cancer that can affect young children. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A team of scientists is hoping they can stop a deadly form of brain cancer that affects some young children- and the University of Iowa says it could give a currently incurable cancer, a cure for the first time.

Researchers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics say they are seeing success in reversing cancer that can affect children under the age of ten.

It's called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. The rare form of cancer attacks the brainstem in young children, but researchers believe they have found a drug that can treat that cancer- something they have seen success in testing. Researchers at UIHC have been testing the drugs on mice, and say that mice with these cancerous tumors have been cured.

They believe there is potential to cure those same tumors in humans- but there is still a long way to go as far as testing and a clinical trial.

Once researchers identified the specific drug, they believe down the road it could end up serving more than one kind of cancer.

"So what we're finding is a connection between a drug, and a cancer genotype, that's really bad for the tumor," said Dr. Charles Brenner, the University of Iowa Biochemistry Chair. "And that potentially allows patients to do well on that type of cancer chemotherapy."

Dr. Brenner says they still have a lot of testing to do, but they believe it could be important down the road, especially considering the types of tumors they are working on can affect the lives of children.