Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas arise almost exclusively in children, and despite advances in treatment, the majority of patients die within 2 years after initial diagnosis. Because of their infiltrative nature and anatomic location in an eloquent area of the brain, most pontine gliomas are treated without a surgical biopsy. The corresponding lack of tissue samples has resulted in a limited understanding of the underlying genetic and molecular biologic abnormalities associated with pontine gliomas, and is a substantial obstacle for the preclinical testing of targeted therapeutic agents for these tumors. We have established a human glioma cell line that originated from surgical biopsy performed on a patient with a pontine glioma. To insure sustainable in vitro propagation, tumor cells were modified with hTERT (human telomerase ribonucleoprotein reverse transcriptase), and with a luciferase reporter to enable non-invasive bioluminescence imaging. The hTERT modified cells are tumorigenic in athymic rodents, and produce brainstem tumors that recapitulate the infiltrative growth of brainstem gliomas in patients. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012.