Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma is such a complex tumor that it is highly unlikely any one individual or lab will find a cure in a vacuum. It will take collaboration between physicians, researchers, and scientists to come up with a way to combat DIPG. That reality is one of the primary reasons the DIPG Collaborative was formed.
The DIPG Collaborative is made up of family foundations representing children fighting or who have passed away from DIPG. Each family within the collaborative gives money to the general pool and then votes on which grant requests will receive funding.
This accomplishes two things.
First, funding for DIPG goes up. While there are a handful of DIPG-focused foundations that bring in a significant amount of money, it pales in comparison to national funding for other cancers.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave more than $3 billion to National Cancer Institute (NCI) projects during the 2016 Fiscal Year. Pooling resources to fund DIPG-specific projects is far more impactful than individual foundations attempting to award money on their own. Members of the DIPG Collaborative give a minimum of $25,000 annually.
Second, knowledge amongst the group goes up. The DIPG Collaborative is about more than just money, it also leverages a medical advisory board to guide members toward the right grants. Understanding the nuances of every research application and process would be cumbersome and – in some respects – painful for families.
The advisory board ensures the money is knowledgeably directed toward DIPG research most likely to move the needle.
The ChadTough Donation
This year, the ChadTough Foundation was able to donate $300,000 to the DIPG Collaborative. Yes, $300,000! That money was raised through independent donations, the ChadTough Garage Sale Rally, RunTough for ChadTough event, Infiniti Coaches Challenge, and more.
In other words, that money was raised because of you. Doesn’t that feel amazing?
That $300,000 given to the DIPG Collaborative contributed to a number of projects this year, most notably:
Dr. Adrian Krainer
Dr. Krainer is a professor at Harvard University with a focus on the process in which DNA is altered in genetic diseases and cancers. This $100,000 grant will go toward his study of “turning off” one of the mutated genes that arises within DIPG.
Dr. Cynthia Hawkins
Dr. Hawkins of The Hospital for Sick Children received $194,260 from the DIPG Collaborative for the exploration of the behavior within specific cells as they pertain to DIPG. Her focus is on looking at the behavior within a specific gene known to act up within DIPG so an agent can be created to fix it.
Dr. Han Shen
Dr. Shen of Fudan University in China and Lowy Cancer Research Centre was awarded $143,884 for her research project that will focus on the glucose metabolism. While organs derive energy from a variety of sources, the brain can only use glucose. Dr. Shen is working to leverage the glucose metabolism for radiosensitisation in DIPG, or making the cells more susceptible to radiation.
Dr. Jacques Grill and Dr. Gustave Roussy
Dr. Grill and Dr. Roussy were awarded $46,536 for their focus on using Ultrasound to break down the blood-brain barrier to improve the delivery of DIPG-fighting drugs. The blood-brain barrier is a huge issue in fighting brain tumors because it blocks the delivery of drugs to the tumor site.
Just the Beginning
These research projects all explore different methods for achieving the same goal — eradicating DIPG — but they are complex as standalone studies. Just as building a house requires a number of subcontractors (e.g. electrician, painter, landscaper), finding a cure for DIPG will require many different scientists, each with a unique specialty.
Jason and Tammi are driven to fund projects like these as a way to build Chad’s legacy and get closer to viable treatment options and then a cure.
Know that you play a critical role in that through your donations, volunteer time, and spreading awareness about ChadTough.
The Carr family thanks you!