The Cure Starts Now

The 2019 International DIPG/DMG Symposium set for Sydney, Australia, August 1-3

Researchers and families meet in Sydney to achieve one goal:
find the Homerun Cure™ to all cancers - starting with DIPG.

The 2019 International DIPG/DMG Symposium is set for Sydney, Australia, August 1-3. This progressive medical showcase, started by The Cure Starts Now®, is the cooperative effort of foundations, medical institutions, and research experts with one goal: to inspire, to form, and to fund new collaborations that lead to more effective treatments for DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma), DMG (Diffuse Midline Glioma), and other pediatric brain cancers.

The symposium is an unconventional hybrid of an innovative basic science meeting and a clinical research conference. Speakers, including experts from multiple basic and clinical research disciplines, provide new perspectives on research approaches, present world-leading research findings in a format that forces researchers to present results before publication, and collaborate on outside-the-box strategies for treatment.

“The DIPG Symposium truly is a unique conference where “outside-the-box" ideas are not only fostered but encouraged. I think that’s really what you need when pursuing a cancer as difficult as DIPG,”
- Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Keith Desserich, co-founder of The Cure Starts Now, is proud of the DIPG Symposium’s progress. “The DIPG/DMG Symposium is the best-case example of transparency, collaboration, and innovation in cancer research. It’s nothing like a traditional medical conference. This different approach is needed when you are working to find the Homerun Cure. We need to speak together, get agreement, and set clear direction on the possibilities of the next generation of research to cure pediatric cancer.”

“The DIPG Symposium truly is a unique conference where “outside-the-box" ideas are not only fostered but encouraged.  I think that’s really what you need when pursuing a cancer as difficult as DIPG,” says Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neuro-Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine. “We need to think about this disease differently, to bring together varying perspectives and approach this cancer collaboratively and from many angles. The Symposium brings the DIPG research community together towards the common goal of curing this terrible childhood cancer.”

The response in the pediatric cancer and medical communities for the biennial symposium has, year-over-year, exceeded expectations. Originally, 18 researchers and foundation partners were scheduled to attend the original DIPG Symposium in Cincinnati in 2011. More than 70 researchers showed up to demonstrate their support and to collaborate for the next steps. Participation in the number of hospitals has increased from three hospitals that first year in Cincinnati, to over 110 hospitals in Sydney in 2019. More than 70 Cure Starts Now chapters and DIPG Collaborative foundation partners have joined forces to make the meeting and funding possible.

The first 2011 DIPG Symposium lead to the development of the International DIPG Registry, the major collaborative resource in collecting and sharing the data in one of the first linked databases that now serves as an example to all types of cancers.

As the most important international pediatric cancer research conference ever held in Australia, the 2019 International DIPG/DMG Symposium showcases Australia as a world leader in pediatric brain cancer funding, research, and innovation. The conference is sold out for 2019, demonstrating the significance of ground-breaking Australian efforts in cancer research and results. The rest of the pediatric cancer research world-community pays attention to the world-first research impact from down under.

Excitement is building for this year’s CureFund. One of the most anticipated parts of the DIPG/DMG Symposium, the CureFund gives five researchers the opportunity to present their out-of-the-box research ideas. Researchers make a four-minute pitch to the attendees showing their expertise and why their innovative concept is worth funding.  The Cure Starts Now medical advisory committee reviews each grant request and, by the end of the day, will grant at least $50,000. The CureFund solidifies the DIPG Collaborative’s commitment to putting dollars into action as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The DIPG/DMG Symposium has mapped out a first-time pathway to a cure with its unique research strategy that reduces the time to clinical trials, provides a funding stream to encourage innovative trials, and provides unprecedented collaboration between researchers and families.  All of these elements have stayed true to the original vision of The Cure Starts Now for this meeting over eight years ago and will drive us toward the Homerun Cure for all cancers.

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