Fully funded by Storm the Heavens Foundation in memory of Philomena. To date $161,044 has been donated with another $161,044 of funding coming in 2019.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the greatest unmet need among childhood brain tumors, and this is in part because DIPG tumor cells weave themselves into the fabric of the pons nerve cell tracts. This project is well outside the box of traditional thinking, to believe that we can separate tumor cells from normal nerve cells: Our neurobiologist – biomedical engineering team propose that a disposable thin film biomaterial can be created to attract DIPG tumor cells from the pons into the thin film without causing the tumor cells to divide. Once in the thin film, the DIPG tumor cells would be trapped. The thin film itself would be applied to the dorsolateral aspect of the pons (a site sometimes biopsied in DIPG). To apply the thin film, the neurosurgeon would take a trans-cerebellar approach through the middle cerebellar peduncle into the dorsolateral pons. This thin film biomaterial device, which we call the “Tumor Cell Hotel”, would be replaced periodically to remove DIPG cells from the pons.