Therapeutic Targets and Molecular Mechanisms in Childhood Brainstem Tumors
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas, (DIPGs), are aggressive and deadly brain tumors that occur in children. These tumors are located in the brainstem. Currently, there is no treatment for DIPGs, and patients invariably succumb to the disease. To find ways to treat DIPGs, we need to better understand how they arise, and how they become so aggressive.
To do this, I propose to study tumor samples and cell lines that are derived from human DIPGs. I will also develop and analyze mouse DIPG models, because they can be studied in much more details than humans. Throughout these efforts, I will aim to identify components of the DIPG cells that we could target with drugs to kill the tumors. As well, I will be involved in an international effort to develop and test a new kind of drug specifically designed for DIPGs. This research will help us understand how DIPGs occur and how we can treat them, an urgent need for children with these terrible tumors.