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Targeting the Epigenome of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Sama Ahsan, MD
Grant Type: 
Young Investigator Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Brain Tumors, Glioma
Project Description: 


Approximately a quarter of children with cancer have tumors of the brain and spinal cord. Unfortunately most children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), one type of brain tumor, die within two years of diagnosis. Scientists have not been able to find a cure for this tumor but as science advances, we have slowly gained a better understanding of what makes one tumor different from another and what may be the underlying mechanism that triggers this devastating disease.

Project Goal

From our work, we have determined that DIPGs may have elevated production of a molecule (5hmC) compared to other tumors. This molecule is thought to play an important role in determining how cells grow. By targeting the process that creates this molecule, we hope to stop its production and find a potential treatment for patients with DIPG.


"DIPG is one of the deadliest pediatric tumors. We are only starting to unlock the mechanisms that lead to the formation of this brain tumor. ALSF funding will help us determine if treating DIPG tumor cells with novel agents that stop 5hmC production will kill tumor cells. We hope for groundbreaking results thanks to ALSF!" ~ Sama Ahsan, MD