Latest Grants Funded

ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation’s Latest Grants

Our partners and donors have made it possible to support eight inspiring, promising projects this funding cycle. ChadTough Defeat DIPG and partners have funded over 48 researchers, at 31 institutions worldwide, totaling $20 million.

Richard Lu, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Richard Lu
2022 Game Changer Grant
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Targeting Diffuse Midline Gliomas with Rational Combination Therapy

Dr. Lu discovered that chaetocin, a substance produced naturally by a fungus, when combined with radiation, has an impressive killing effect on DMG/DIPG cells. This project will test this combination in conjunction with the oral drug ONC201 to discover why they work so well together and what may be needed to make them even more effective in the future.

Mark Souweidane, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Mark Souweidane
2022 Game Changer Grant
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Development of a Comprehensive Direct Drug Delivery Platform for the Treatment of Diffuse Midline Glioma

The objective of Dr. Souweidane’s project is to develop more effective drug delivery methods for DIPG/DMG patients. To accomplish this, he will test various drug combinations and drug delivery techniques to more effectively target DIPG/DMG tumors, while avoiding the toxicities associated with the conventional administration of drug therapies. Dr. Souweidane expects the establishment of this drug-delivery platform will support many cutting-edge therapies and early-stage trials in the fight against DIPG/DMG tumors.

Praveen Raju and Oren Becher
Praveen Raju and Oren Becher
2022 Game Changer Grant
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

A clinically translatable nanotherapeutic approach to enhance BBB drug delivery in DIPG

Delivering therapeutics directly to brain tumors safely and effectively has been one of the main limitations for the treatment of DIPG/DMG tumors. Drs. Raju and Becher have recently developed an innovative drug delivery technology that crosses the blood-brain barrier, delivering the drug safely to the site of the tumor. In this study, they will optimize the use of this technology in an effort to improve outcomes for DIPG/DMG patients.

Zachary Reitman
Zachary Reitman
2022 New Investigator Grant
Duke University

Dissecting mechanisms of radio resistance associated with p53 mutations in DIPG

A potential new treatment approach in the fight against DIPG/DMG tumors is to combine radiation therapy with targeted treatments against a specific molecule found in the tumor. However, some subtypes of DIPG appear to be resistant to this method. In this project, Dr. Reitman will carry out experiments to determine why that is so and identify combinations of treatments that could be used to overcome this resistance.

Humsa Venkatesh
Humsa Venkatesh
2022 New Investigator Grant
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Targeting the electrical vulnerabilities of DIPG by modulating the neuronal microenvironment

While the nature of mutations in DIPG/DIPG progression is still not fully understood, nerve cell activity is emerging as a critical cause of tumor growth. In this study, Dr. Venkatesh will use molecular biology and neuroscience techniques to better understand the dynamics between neurons and DIPG cells, along with combination treatment strategies to potentially change the way DIPG/DMG tumors are treated.

Jamie Anastas
Jamie Anastas
2022 New Investigator Grant
Baylor College of Medicine

Combinatorial targeting of Cyclin-Dependent Kinases in DIPG

The objective of this study will be to evaluate the use of drugs that target signaling molecules called CDK. These findings will establish a basis for future clinical trials using these inhibitors as therapies for DIPG/DMG tumors in combination with other drugs. The approach of combining multiple drugs under investigation in clinical trials for DIPG treatment will challenge existing paradigms and provide a basis for the development of drug combinations aimed at achieving complete tumor control.

Orazio Vittorio
Orazio Vittorio
2022 New Investigator Grant
University of New South Wales

Exploring copper chelation as a novel epigenetic therapeutic strategy for DIPG

Dr. Vittorio works with copper chelating agents, which already have wide use in other cancers, to demonstrate the effectiveness of treating brain tumors. This grant will allow his research team to exhibit their expertise in copper biology as they uncover effective drug combinations to reduce copper in DIPG/DMG cancer cells, killing them and improving the survival rate in DIPG/DMG patients.

Michelle Monje
Michelle Monje
2022 Special Project Grant
Stanford University

Car T-cell trial co-funded by Storm the Heavens Fund & Austin Strong Foundation

In addition to the grants made through the structured program, the foundation is excited to continue to support the promising Car T-cell trial led by Dr. Michelle Monje of Stanford University with our new co-funders, Storm the Heavens Fund and Austin Strong Foundation.  The trial has shown great promise and, after decades, could finally offer patients with DIPG/DMG a new treatment option for a disease that has historically proven resistant to other therapies.