The ChadTough Foundation and Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation are funding ten new Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)-specific research projects totaling more than $2.8 million over the next three years (2020-22). Two of the new grants will be made in partnership with SoSo Strong Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

To date, the ChadTough Defeat DIPG grant program has committed $6.1 million to 23 DIPG research projects. In addition, ChadTough and Defeat DIPG have committed $600,000 to help fund an innovative collaboration between PNOC (Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium) and the DIPG Centre of Expertise in Zurich, supporting preclinical and clinical work across multiple institutions.

“By working together, we are amplifying our capacity to make significant investments in DIPG-specific research,” says Defeat DIPG Executive Director Jenny Mosier. “It is the generosity, passion, and commitment of the Defeat DIPG and ChadTough supporter networks that propel our shared mission of finding a cure for this devastating disease.”

The ten projects to be funded include: two research grants ($600,000 over three years), four new investigator grants ($250,000 over two years), and four fellowships ($150,000 over two years).

Jason Carr, President of The ChadTough Foundation, explains, “Our grant program is designed to push the field forward by investing in research that is likely to fuel progress and add to our understanding of this disease, while also ensuring we empower the next generation of researchers to bring this over the finish line for our children. We hope for a cure in the near term, but we realize we need a pipeline of researchers who have the expertise and drive to follow through with this work as long as needed”

All projects for the ChadTough Defeat DIPG grant program are reviewed by the Defeat DIPG Scientific Advisory Council, an unparalleled group of experts in pediatric brain cancer who evaluate each application for scientific merit. “Our Scientific Advisory Council brings a breadth of experience and expertise that sets our grant program apart,” says Mark Mosier, Chair of the Defeat DIPG Board of Directors. “Their rigorous review of the many applications we receive ensures we are using donor funds as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

The Defeat DIPG Scientific Advisory Council is chaired by Suzanne Baker (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital) and includes David Ashley (Duke University School of Medicine), Oren Becher (Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine), Cynthia Hawkins (Hospital for Sick Children), Duane Mitchell (University of Florida College of Medicine), Michelle Monje (Stanford University), and Javad Nazarian (University Children’s Hospital Zurich, Children’s National Medical Center).

The ChadTough Defeat DIPG grant program was structured with guidance from the Defeat DIPG Scientific Advisory Council to ensure the grant amount, duration, and criteria were shaped to achieve the most meaningful results to push the field forward. All of the Defeat DIPG ChadTough grants are multi-year grants, allowing researchers to spend more of their time in the lab and less seeking additional funding for future years. Researchers submit progress reports to ensure the studies are proceeding as anticipated.

ChadTough and Defeat DIPG bring together 11 families with children who have fought or are fighting DIPG that are actively raising research dollars.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work together with this incredible set of families who contribute so much,” says Tammi Carr, Co-Founder and Board Member of The ChadTough Foundation, “They have all been through such a difficult experience with their own child’s battle, yet they harness their grief and passion to make a difference for families who will face DIPG in the future.”

The ChadTough Foundation is led by co-founders Jason and Tammi Carr, and includes partner families Gina Hatzivasilis and Sam Reinhold (Team Benjamin) Connie and James Jones (Team Carter), Jeff and Shannon DelVerne (Team Colt), Brad and Nettie Boivin (Team Julian), and Tom and Amanda Ruddy (Team Tommy).

Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation is led by co-founders Mark and Jenny Mosier, and includes their Defeat DIPG Network chapters: Katie Gaskin and Ruben Cardoza (Anthony’s Avengers Defeat DIPG Foundation (IL)), Amanda and Brandon Huffman (Avery Huffman Defeat DIPG Foundation (WA)), Alexis and Peter Olympia (Connor Man Defeat DIPG Foundation (TX)), and Katie and Simon Weaver (Vivian Rose Weaver Defeat DIPG Foundation (WA)).

SoSo Strong Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is a nonprofit established in honor of Sophia Ann Myers and is co-funding two of the ten grants awarded in this grant cycle.

Learn more about The ChadTough Foundation at chadtough.org and Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation at defeatdipg.org.

RESEARCH GRANTS
Hideho Okada, University of California San Francisco, “Next-generation CAR T cell therapies for treatment of DIPG, utilizing sequential “prime-and-kill” circuits to achieve safe and effective tumor targeting”
Daphne Haas-Kogan, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “Dependence of DIPGs on DNA polymerase θ for DNA repair defines a new therapeutic target”

NEW INVESTIGATOR GRANTS
James Stafford, University of Vermont, “Onc201 in DIPG; establishing mechanism, enhancing efficacy and determining long-term phenotypic consequences.”
Zachary Reitman, Duke University, “Enhancing the efficacy of radiation therapy for DIPG”
Stephen Mack, Baylor College of Medicine, “Interrogating the Role of HERV Activation in H3K27M Pediatric Glioma.”
Matthew Dun, University of Newcastle (Australia), “Unlocking oncogene addition to identify synergistic treatment targets for the treatment of DIPG.”

FELLOWSHIPS
Eshini Panditharatna, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “Targeting epigenetically induced vulnerabilities in DIPG.” (Mentor: Mariella Filbin)
Chan Chung, University of Michigan, “Targeting DIPGs by interrupting metabolic pathways.” (Mentor: Sriram Venneti)
Alan Jiao, Boston Children’s Hospital, “Dissecting mechanisms of H3K27M oncohistone function in DIPG) (Mentor: Yang Shi)
Xu Zhang, Columbia University, “Mechanistic studies on the WNT5A signal pathway in DIPG tumor.” (Mentor: Zhiguo Zhang)