The Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI) was awarded $100,000 in support of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) research by The Lyla Nsouli Foundation for Children’s Brain Cancer Research. The cc-TDI team of Drs. Xiaolei Lian, Noah Berlow and Charles Keller is working to develop an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for DIPG, a universally fatal childhood brain cancer afflicting approximately 400 new patients in the United States and the United Kingdom each year. DIPG accounts for 16% of all pediatric and young adult central nervous system tumors, creating a critical need for treatment options.
The limited response of DIPG to widely used therapeutic classes necessitates the development of novel treatments. One such treatment that can be rapidly translated to the clinic is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC). ADCs are a class of immunoconjugates which chemically link protein-specific antibodies with cytotoxic agents to target antigen-expressing cells with high specificity. ADCs enable specific targeting of the Interleukin-13 cell surface receptor (IL13Rα2) abundantly expressed in DIPG cells but notably absent in surrounding normal brain tissue while avoiding the life-threatening immune inflammatory responses induced by immune-modulating therapies.
Support from The Lyla Nsouli Foundation allows cc-TDI researchers to optimize a pre-clinically validated IL13Rα2-targeting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) for rapid clinical translation. The Lyla Nsouli Foundation for Children’s Brain Cancer Research (www.lylansoulifoundation.org) was founded in 2012 in honor and memory of Lyla Nsouli who at the age of two was diagnosed with DIPG and given months to live. The Foundation’s main objective is to target DIPG and other underserved brain cancers through research to develop life-saving treatment options.