A grant of $75,000 has been awarded to Dr Viola Caretti, from the lab of Dr Michelle Monje at Stanford University to fund a study entitled ‘Non-cell Autonomous Effects in Pediatric Pontine Gliomas'.
Hypothesis: DIPG cells secrete soluble factors that recruit healthy Neural Precursor Cells (“NPCs”) in the developing brain and this interaction can be targeted therapeutically.
The present proposal seeks to understand the mechanism of DIPG non-cell autonomous effects on neighbouring cells and ultimately therapeutically target DIPG cell-NPC interactions in the developing brain.
Problem & Solution: Despite numerous clinical trials based on conventional chemotherapy and targeted molecular therapy, the prognosis of children affected by DIPG remains universally dismal. Effective treatment options are urgently needed. To develop new treatment strategies, scientists and physicians have historically focused on targeting the cancer cells themselves. Instead, the present proposal seeks to understand the mechanism of DIPG non-cell autonomous effects on neighbouring normal cells and ultimately therapeutically target putative DIPG cell-NPC interactions in the developing brain to mitigate tumour growth and offer new potential effective therapies for these children.
This is the second grant awarded to Dr Michelle Monje's lab. The first, for $180,000, was awarded in March 2013 for funding a study entitled “A Combinatorial Approach to Target Cellular Subpopulations in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma”.