Childhood Cancer

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Epigenetic therapies to concurrently target DIPG tumor cells and harness the immune system

The Regents of the University of Michigan
Sriram Venneti, MD/PhD
Grant Type: 
R Accelerated Award Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)
Project Description: 

Our research project will investigate the association of a very frequent mutation in DIPG tumor cells with proteins that help to establish the structure of DNA. Elevated expression of these proteins seems to affect the normal function of DNA and may result in abnormal cell growth. Our goal is to inhibit these DNA proteins to specifically target the potential cause contributing to the maintenance of DIPG cells. Overall, we expect that elimination of these DNA proteins will result in a greater effect in terms of reducing aberrant DIPG cell growth, tumor progression and activate the immune system. We then will leverage this knowledge to a developed drug that reduces these DNA proteins. We will test if this drug kills DIPG cells in animal models. Our work is important and impactful as our result will lay the groundwork to develop effective therapies for DIPGs.

Project Goals

1. We will first test how DIPG tumor cells increase specific proteins that help to establish the structure of DNA.
2. We will use drugs to target this specific protein in tumor cells to see if this drug kills tumor cells.
3. We will test this drug in pre-clinical animal models to establish therapeutic efficacy.