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Funding Type: St. Baldrick's Scholar
Institution Location: Denver, CO
Institution: University of Colorado affiliated with Children's Hospital Colorado
High-grade gliomas (HGG) are aggressive brain cancers that affect both adults and children. Current treatment options are very limited, and the vast majority of patients die of their tumors within five years of diagnosis. One subtype of high-grade glioma that almost exclusively occurs in children, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), is the last incurable childhood cancer, with zero percent long-term survivors. To address these tumors, Dr. Green and team have focused on a new field of cancer treatment called epigenetics, which literally means above genetics and refers to all changes to DNA that do not involve changes to the DNA sequence itself, but instead affect which genes are made into protein. Through prior work, Dr. Green's team has found a gene, BPTF, which controls the expression of many other genes and appears to drive HGG and DIPG growth. Dr. Green aims to determine how exactly BPTF drives growth by interacting with other genes, to measure how BPTF inhibition works with drugs called HDAC inhibitors and whether this strategy could work with current standard treatments, and to measure the effect of a new chemical that inhibits BPTF that could serve as a precursor to medicines targeting BPTF.