Researchers at the University of Michigan have secured a federal grant for research into a potential treatment for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
DIPG claimed the lives of Donna Smigiel’s son Ryan, and Lloyd, the grandson of former U of M football coach Chad Carr.
“Their minds are great, but it attacks all of your faculties you know and so it’s a horrific death to watch,” Smigiel said.
DIPG is an aggressive disease that forms within the brain stem. It has no cure, and is most commonly found in adolescents.
Many people who have been diagnosed pass away within a year of being diagnosed, but with new experimental gene therapy research, that could soon change.
“I’m very excited about what these two researchers down at U of M are doing. It sounds very promising,” Smigiel said.
Doctors at U of M have received a $429,000 federal grant to study an experimental gene therapy. They hope it will enable a patient’s immune system to kill the cancer cells.
Smigiel said that she hopes this means a cure. She doesn’t want another parent to endure the pain she will feel every day for the rest of her life.
“Walk down the cancer halls at Henry Ford, or U of M, it breaks your heart. These are our children. We have got to do better. They deserve better. We have to do better,” Smigiel said.