HUNTER cancer researcher Dr Matthew Dun has dedicated his first research paper on the deadly brain cancer, DIPG, to the fundraising “family” that made it all possible.
Dr Dun has been in a race against time to find a cure for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) since his own daughter, four-year-old Josephine, was diagnosed with the brain stem cancer.
DIPG is a “highly aggressive” cancer that mostly affects young children and is “uniformly fatal”.
It is responsible for the most paediatric-associated disease deaths, and has a less than 1 per cent survival rate.
On Wednesday, Dr Dun said on social media that Josephine was deteriorating, but she was fighting hard and “so incredibly bravely”.
“At four years young, she has been through more physical, emotional and terrifying events than I will in my entire lifetime,” he said via Twitter.
Josephine was the first child to receive a drug that Dr Dun discovered in trials for adult brain cancer.
“My colleagues believe that what we have done for her thus far has helped. She has now lived twice as long as expected… But there is no doubt the tumour is winning.”
He dedicated his first published paper on the disease to the Run DIPG family – the fundraising group that has run, swam, paddled, danced and hiked to raise more than $100,000 to support his research.
“Without your support, none of this would have been possible,” he wrote.
“I hope you can continue to support our research going forward so that together we can help all families fighting DIPG.”
Dr Dun said the research paper, called Signal Transduction in Diffuse Instrinsic Pontine Glioma, highlights what is known and unknown about the disease, and helps to “map pathways” to the development of improved treatment strategies.
It had been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal, Proteomics.