This Girl’s Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Tumor is Gone, But No One Knows Why

According to a story from CBS News, Roxli Doss, an eleven year old girl, was diagnosed with a rare and dangerous brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. It is incredibly rare and mostly affects children; only 300 kids are diagnosed with the disease per year in the US. It is an aggressive cancer and very few patients survive for long. While Roxli and her family were preparing for the worst, something happened that no one, not even the doctors, could have predicted.

About Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is a very rare brain tumor that is known for its poor response for treatment. It appears in the pons, the central area of the brain stem. Its locations makes the tumor inoperable via surgery. Unfortunately, the cause of this tumor remains unknown, and there are few known definitive risk factors; mutations of H3K27M are implicated in brain tumors in children. Symptoms of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma include vision loss, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, and problems with speech. The normal treatment approach for this tumor is radiation therapy for a period of six weeks; surgery is rarely possible, and the effectiveness of chemotherapy is unclear. Like other brain tumors, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is difficult to treat as many drugs cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. The tumor almost always relapses after treatment, and five year survival rate is less than one percent. To learn more about diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, click here.

Praying For a Miracle

Roxli received treatment at Dell Children’s Medical Center, located in Austin, Texas. She received the routine radiation therapy, with little hope of survival; however, the treatment could at least prolong her life for a few months. Her parents Scott and Gena, clinging to hope, prayed desperately.

After two months of treatment, Roxli’s tumor was…gone. This goes against the routine result of radiation therapy with this tumor. Generally, the treatment may help shrink it some and improve symptoms, but doctors were unable to find any trace of it, even with an MRI scan. As of now, no one at the hospital can explain the disappearance. While there is still a chance that Roxli’s diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma could return, right now the 11 year old and her parents are overjoyed. It appears that their prayers, at least for now, have been answered.

 


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