Great progress has been made in the search for cures for many childhood cancers.
Unfortunately, pediatric brain tumors are still in many cases as lethal as ever. Many of the protocols and therapies doctors use to treat children with brain tumors have not changed in over 40 years.
Concentrated research on rare brain tumors like DIPG has the potential to open up new avenues of treatment not just for children with brain tumors, but also for other childhood and adult cancers. What we uncover about DIPG and other high grade gliomas will likely shed light on the genetic defects and cellular behavior of all cancers.
U-M is well-positioned to lead the search for cures through an accelerated, comprehensive initiative that improves our understanding, develops better treatments, and advances science toward improved survival and cures for children with brain cancer.
The Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Initiative was established in 2016 through the efforts of the Chad Carr family and a few dedicated volunteers who, along with U-M leadership, envisioned what it would take to make U-M a leader in the care, treatment and cure of pediatric brain tumors, especially DIPG.
The first major gift establishing a concerted pediatric brain tumor research endeavor at U-M came in early 2015, and the initiative’s first two projects were funded in 2016.
In 2017, the endeavor picked up speed with the formal introduction of the annual Proof of Principal Research Collaboration (P3RC) Award. Six projects were funded in 2017, with a focus on DIPG research in the areas of drug delivery, device deployment, clinical trials, cellular therapy and immunotherapeutics.
Michigan Medicine – through collaborative efforts led by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Comprehensive Cancer Center – aims to significantly expand clinical and research capacity and build on its solid foundation to become a national center of excellence for pediatric brain cancer by 2021.
To pool diverse ideas and knowledge, break traditional boundaries and solve these diseases, U-M will leverage the breadth and depth of expertise across the university — from the departments of pediatrics, radiology and neurosurgery, radiation oncology, genetics and pathology to U-M leaders in engineering and public health.
We’re already on the cusp of breakthroughs. Internationally-recognized U-M faculty are doing pivotal research on DIPG and high grade gliomas, closing gaps in understanding their causes and mechanisms, with practical applications. We are exploring several lines of research aimed at developing innovative treatment approaches for DIPG and other pediatric brain tumors.
The time is now — and Michigan is the place — for conquering DIPG, gliomas and other pediatric brain tumors.