DIPG/DIPT Discussion

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A new Preclinical DIPG Consortium

A new Preclinical DIPG Consortium has been unveiled at-

One of the spectacular things is that this clearly identifies some of the researchers that are truly placing significant emphasis is trying to unravel DIPG.  There are 5 US sites and one each in Canada, France and Amsterdam.  A main requirement to be a site currently seems to have a cell line as well as a funding source.

The DIPG Consortium includes:

  • Oregon Health and Science University-  Charles Keller MD, Kellie Nazemi MD, Nate Selden MD, PhD and Dan Guillaume MD, PhD
  • Duke University- Oren Becher MD
  • Stanford- Michelle Monje, MD, PhD
  • Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center- Maryam Fouladi, DM
  • Baylor College of Medicine- Xiao Nan Li, MD,PhD
  • University of Toronto- Cynthia Hawkins, MD, PhD
  • VU Cancer Center of Amsterdam- Dannis G. van Vuuren, ND MSc and Ester Hulleman
  • Institut Gustave-Roussy, Villejuif France- Jacques Grill

The current study is called "Rapid Preclinical Development of a Targeted Therapy Combination for DIPG" which has a goal of attempting rapidly to test agents against cell lines and then animal models to hopefully rapidly translate into clinical trials over the next two years.

 It does seem that this trial is a novel approach in that it will treat DIPG specifically and not rely on adult models or cell lines.  This is important in that pediatric DIPG is molecularly distinct from adult gliomas.

Another interesting thing is that the high throughput screening of agents seems like it is to be limited specifically to 60 already available drugs.  This sounds quite reasonable as why test against agents that might not be available for some time. 

 In addition, combinations of agents will also be tested.  This also seems to be significant as many researchers have said that a single agent is unlikely to be effective against DIPG.

 It seems that after the best agents and combinations are found in vitro (against cells alone) that they will be tested in animal models- likely both xenografts and Oren Becher’s  GEMM (genetically engineered mouse model).  

Note- Xenografts are made when human cells lines are injected into animal to create a tumor.  GEMMs make tumors on their own and are not from human cell lines

People can check back to the website at that entry to check the progress of the study (mid page)-

Funding for this study has been through parent founded organizations.   The Cure Starts Now provided $100,000 for the North American Institutions.  Also listed were those involved in the DIPG Symposium Collaboration including Reflections of Grace Foundation, The Jeffrey Thomas Hayden Foundation, Cancerfree Kids, Carly’s Crusaders, The Max Lacewell Foundation, Smiles for Sophie Forever Foundation and Benny’s World Foundation for making our project possible.

Additionally, a $28,000 grant from The Lyla Nsouli Foundation for Children’s Brain Cancer Research in the UK allowed for expansion for  the two participating European collaborators.