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A searchable blog on DIPG research, DIPG news, recent publications, DIPG Foundations, DIPG researchers, clinical trials as well as other issues relating to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Tumors- both Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPGs) and Atypical Pontine Lesions (APLs).

For parents, family and friends of children with DIPG looking for information and connection to others dealing with DIPG please check the buttons on the right hand side for resources.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Focus On Researh- Xiao Nan Li

Dedicated to a special boy,  Paul Alexander Coleman III, who is continuing to make an impact.....

Because of the trifecta of basic science hurdles- no tissue, no cell lines, no animal models- DIPG bench research has only recently begun.  This has only been possible because of the efforts of a few individuals struggling to make the previously impossible possible- make animal models from an inoperable tumor.  One of these pioneers- Xiao Nan Li MD, PhD (Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Cancer Center).

Dr Li's interest is in the fields of cancer stem cells, experimental therapeutics and diagnostic markers with a particular focus on developing "clinically relevant animal models" for preclinical testing.

I first became aware of Dr Li when a fellow brain tumor parent sent her son's post-mortem specimen across the from the east coast to Texas to try to make a difference for medulloblastoma.  The lab wasn't only interested in medulloblastoma.   Dr Li has established more than 25 xenograft mouse models of several different pediatric brain tumors.  At some time,  a post mortem DIPG specimen was obtained and through the lab's work a door was unlocked for DIPG.  Dr Li was able to establish a DIPG animal mouse model from this tissue and the scientific value of DIPG autopsy specimens skyrocketed.

Although the lab is interested in fighting all pediatric brain tumors there seems to have been a special focus on DIPG.   Texas Children's has cell lines and thus became one of the initial members of the DIPG Pre-clincal consortium which is collaboratively working on rapid analysis of the cell lines and drug testing.

The lab has at least 5 different DIPG mouse xenografts that can be used for other types of research.  One of these research endeavors is using oncolytic viruses in the DIPG mice he developed.  Dr Xaio Nan Li will be presenting his work in a mouse model on eliminating therapy resistant DIPGs with an oncolytic virus at the DIPG Symposium in Cincinnati on May 3rd.   A link to the grant executive summary funded by the Cure Starts Now is listed below.

This oncolytic virus research is exciting especially in light of the recent publication out of University of Alabama looking at this issue in pediatric gliomas.   Although the publication is a different virus, the idea is essentially the same.  Novel therapies are going to be needed to eliminate treatment resistent subpopulations while sparing normal tissue.  Oncolytic virus have been one of the innovative treatment that might be a weapon in the future against DIPG as well as other gliomas and brain tumors.

Neuro-Oncology Research Lab of Dr Xiao Nan Li

Harnessing Autopsied DIPG Tumor Tissues for Orthotopic Xenograft Model Development in the Brain Stems of SCID mice- Grant Award Final Report

Eliminating Therapy-Resistant Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas with Oncolytic Picorna Virus SVV-001: an in vivo Study in Intra-brain Stem Xenograft Mouse Models- Grant Executive Summary

Pediatric glioma stem cells: biologic strategies for oncolytic HSV viral therapy.
 2013;3:28. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00028. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

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