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 58 researchers, at 31 institutions worldwide, totaling $23 million.

Akash Deogharkar
Akash Deogharkar
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
University of Michigan

Targeting combined metabolic and epigenetic pathways H3K27M DIPG

Mentor: Sriram Venneti

Ryan Duchatel
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
University of Newcastle

Integrating systemic and local therapeutic vulnerabilities to improve the treatment of diffuse midline glioma (DMG)

Mentor: Matt Dun

Pruthvi Gowda
Pruthvi Gowda
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Remodeling lipid metabolism for therapeutic differentiation of H3K27M diffuse pontine glioma (DIPG)

Mentor: Nika Danial

Joana
Joana Graca Marques
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Exploring H3K27ac deregulation as therapeutically actionable in histone mutant pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)

Mentor: Mariella Filbin

ErikPeterson
Erik Peterson
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
Regents of the University of Michigan

Determining the effect of ONC201 on DIPG cellular metabolism and targeting mechanisms of resistance

Mentor: Daniel Wahl

David Spencer Rogawski
David Rogawski
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
Stanford University

Neurophysiological small molecule screen for inhibitors of neuron-to-DIPG communication

Mentor: Michelle Monje

Stefanie-Grace Sbergio 2
Stefanie-Grace Sbergio
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
The Hospital for Sick Children

Tumor-Targeted pan-RAS Inhibition as a Novel Therapy for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Montor: Cynthia Hawkins

Theophilos Tzaridis USE
Theophilos Tzaridis
2023 Fellowship Grant Recipient
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

CD155 as a novel regulator of cell growth and immune evasion in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)

Mentor: Robert Wechsler-Reya

Group from DMG Act
DMG-ACT
3rd Year Funding
Co-funded by Elle's Angel's Foundation

DMG-ACT trial co-funded by Elle’s Angels Foundation

In addition to the grants made through the structured program, the foundation is excited to continue to support the promising Diffuse Midline Glioma – Adaptive Combinatorial Therapy (DMG-ACT) trial.  The DMG-ACT, a collaboration through the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) and the DIPG Centre of Expertise in Zurich, is a biology-informed, adaptive, and progressive trial, designed to deliver more rapid progress for children suffering from DMG. Learn more about our funding for the DMG-ACT visit our story HERE.
john_prensner headshot
John Prensner
DDRFA Collaboration Grant Recipient
University of Michigan

Deciphering aberrant RNA translation in DIPG

This grant enables the purchase a Beckman-Coulter Optima MAX-XP Tabletop Ultracentrifuge. It is required for the optimized protocol for ribosome profiling for DIPG samples. 

Most DIPGs are triggered by a specific genetic event that impacts the way brain cells regulate DNA activity. In effect, DIPG cells begin to awaken parts of the genome that are generally kept quiescent. Some of these genomic regions may produce retroviral elements. Under normal circumstances, these retroviral elements can be toxic when highly active, but DIPG cells appear to utilize, or at least tolerate, the presence of retroviral elements. Understanding which of these genomic elements are specifically activated in DIPG, and which produce proteins, may provide unique insights into how DIPG cells function, leading to opportunities for novel therapeutic approaches in this deadly childhood brain cancer.

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.