Methods: An autopsy protocol was implemented in the Netherlands to obtain tumour material within a brief post mortem interval. A team of neuropathologists and researchers was available at any time to perform the autopsy and process the material harvested. Whole brain autopsy was performed and primary DIPG material and healthy tissue were collected from all affected brain areas. Finally, the study included systematic evaluation by parents.
Results: Five autopsies were performed. The mean time interval between death and time of autopsy was 3 h (range 2-4). All tumours were graded as glioblastoma. None of the parents regretted their choice to participate, and they all derived comfort in donating tissue of their child in the hope to help future DIPG patients. In addition, we developed and characterized one of the first DIPG cell cultures from post mortem material.
Conclusion: Here we show that obtaining post mortem DIPG tumour tissue for research purposes is feasible with short delay, and that the autopsy procedure is satisfying for participating parents and can be suitable for the development of preclinical DIPG models.