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Image Guided Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Drug Delivery and Design

Weill Cornell Medical College
Mark Souweidane, MD & Richard Ting, PhD
Grant Type: 
Innovation Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)
Project Description: 


Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) are aggressive, inoperable brain tumors that affect children. Life expectancy from a DIPG diagnosis is less than 1 year, even with intervention. There are no known survivors of DIPG. DIPG differ from other pediatric cancers because DIPG do not respond to chemotherapy. The blood brain barrier (BBB) insulates DIPG from chemotherapeutic treatment. 

Project Goal

This proposal combines advanced materials and neurosurgical techniques to develop new methods for effectively treating DIPG. We use cannula that are less than a millimeter thick for surgically delivering cancer-specific-drugs directly to DIPG, bypassing the blood brain barrier. We work with Weill Cornell Radiology to modify our most effective, cancer-specific drugs so that their delivery to DIPG can be tracked using PET/MR, our most advanced clinical imaging strategy.

The agents developed in this proposal will allow clinicians to observe drug delivery in real time. These agents will allow clinicians to promptly conclude if a drug is properly delivered to a tumor. More importantly, we can immediately observe scenarios where drug delivery misses a tumor, allowing a clinician to quickly intervene. This proposal addresses an important issue in medicine today: we do not currently have a method for observing missed or inadequate drug delivery in cancer.