Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Working to eliminate the challenges
of childhood brain tumors
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Opportunity Grants

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation's Opportunity Grants fill critical needs in brain tumor research for children and teens. Discussions with the PBTF's Research Advisory Network and the broader scientific community help us recognize candidates for funding.

CURRENT FUNDING FOCUS: COLLABORATIONS TO CURE DIPG

The PBTF’s current Opportunity Grants focus on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma research. Although medical advances in the past 40 years have improved survival rates for many types of childhood cancer, DIPG is not one of them. This highly aggressive brain tumor defies treatment and currently has a zero-percent survival rate.

Research on DIPG is performed in laboratories throughout the world, but previous efforts have been highly fragmented. The following Opportunity Grant awardees involve multi-investigator, multi-site efforts collaborating for a DIPG cure. These projects also hold tremendous potential for the study and treatment of other types of childhood brain tumors.

Project "All In" for DIPG

Award: $100,000 over one year with the possibility of renewal
Principal Investigators: Kathy Warren, MD, Head of Neuro-Oncology Section, Senior Investigator in Pediatric Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, and Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, Stanford

When clinical testing of a drug begins, there can be significant gaps in knowledge or conflicting information about its basic biological performance. Securing additional funds to fill in these gaps is often challenging for labs; however, these gaps are important factors contributing to high drug failure rates in patients.

Project “All In” for DIPG is a novel public-private partnership led by the National Cancer Institute to coordinate DIPG studies and better qualify drug candidates for clinical trials in children by facilitating more thorough evaluation.

The project’s mission is two-fold:

  1. Establish and maintain a major effort to coordinate DIPG studies that will more efficiently and successfully advance DIPG therapies
  2. Establish a critical pipeline of therapeutic trials for all stages of the DIPG disease process.

The PBTF’s Opportunity grant supports All In’s “intramural project fund” at NCI. This precedent-setting grant is specifically designed to distribute funding as project requests are received and reviewed. The fluidity in available funding will greatly reduce researchers’ grant-writing time - shifting the concern from “What grant can I get?” to “What work needs to be done?”

This partnership also enables the PBTF to sit on the project’s Oversight Committee for evaluating funding requests. Being a part of it strengthens our expertise and insight into the research landscape at the national level.

Project Open DIPG Study Focused on HDAC Inhibitors

Award: $100,000 over one year with the possibility of renewal
Principal Investigators: Adam Resnick, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Javad Nazarian, PhD, Children’s National Health System, Benjamin Garcia, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Funding Partner: CJR Memorial Foundation

This multi-institutional Project Open DIPG study uses state-of-the-art technology to determine the potency of candidate drugs belonging to the novel class of molecules called HDAC inhibitors.

This grant enables researchers to:

  1. Compare the treatments’ effects on its own versus in combination with other types of treatments
  2. Study the cancer cells’ molecular functionality at the DNA and protein levels
  3. Determine animal model survival rates and duration

Project Open DIPG is a joint venture by the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium, a previous PBTF Opportunity Grant awardee, and the Children's Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium.

The research builds on PNOC’s clinical trial portfolio through biospecimen collection, genomic sequencing, and an experimental animal model systems approach supported by CBTTC. The tissue samples will be added to CBTTC’s biorepository, and data from preclinical drug testing in DIPG tumor samples will be deposited into the CAVATICA platform.

The PBTF considers Opportunity Grant candidates on a continuous, case-by-case basis. Applications are accepted by invitation only; however, we welcome discussion of research ideas that fit with our strategic priorities, particularly if the ideas involve multi-institutional efforts.