September 26 is Brain Cancer Awareness Day. This year the focus is on high grade glioma (HGG). We have highlighted all of the projects we have committed funding to relating to research in HGG.

Researcher:  Assoc. Prof. Misty Jenkins
Institution:  Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Developing new immunotherapies to treat brain cancer
RCD Amount: $500,000
Summary: RCD funded a five-year research program to bring novel cutting edge therapies into the clinic to treat paediatric brain cancer. CAR T Cell therapy, it involves taking a patient’s immune cells and modifying them in the laboratory to better recognise and the fight the tumour. Initial work has focused on High Grade Gliomas (HGG) with promising results in animal studies. The goal is to translate these findings into phase 1 clinical trials.

Dr Misty Jenkins

Researcher: Dr Vanessa Tsui (Postdoctoral fellow) Supervisor Prof. Ron Firestein
Institution: Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Mapping Functional Genomic Dependencies for Rare Childhood Brain Cancer
RCD Amount: $236,000
Summary: This project builds upon previous work by Dr Gabrielle Bradshaw at the Hudson Institute, which was targeting the genetic drivers of paediatric high-grade glioma. It uses the latest techniques to assess the function and contribution of many different genes to the cell’s overall behaviour and appearance within brain tumours. Using this approach, novel therapeutic targets in low survival paediatric brain cancers are being identified.

Researcher: Ihara Shazia Adjumain (PhD student) – Supervisor Prof. Ron Firestein
Institution: Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
RCD Amount: $90,000 (additional funds from cofounder Monash University)
Summary: This project focuses on understanding the function of a specific gene, called MCL-1 and its relationship to another important gene, BCL2L1 in paediatric HGGs. Studies in the laboratory have already identified MCL-1 as a potential new therapeutic target, and now this is being tested in animal models.

Ihara Shazia Adjumain

Researcher: Jaime-Lee Pitcher (PhD student) – Supervisor Prof. Terrance Johns
Institution: Telethon Kids Institute
Determining the Role of ErbB4 in High Grade Glioma
RCD Amount: $49,500 (additional funds from co-funders Pirate Ship Foundation and University WA)
Summary: The project investigates a protein called ErbB4 which is thought to be involved in the progression of HGGs. It aims to uncover its exact role in glioblastomas (GBM) and diffuse midline gliomas (DMG) and therefore determine if it is a druggable target.

RCD supported Clinical Trials involving HGGs administered through ANZCHOG

NICHE-HGG Trial (PNOC-019): A randomised pilot trial of Neoadjuvant checkpoint Inhibition
followed by Combination adjuvant checkpoint inHibition in childrEn and young adults with
recurrent or progressive High Grade Glioma

PNOC-022 (DMG-ACT): A Combination Therapy Trial using an Adaptive Platform Design for
Children and Young Adults with Diffuse Midline Gliomas (DMGs) including Diffuse Intrinsic
Pontine Gliomas (DIPGs) at Initial Diagnosis, Post-Radiation Therapy and at Time of Progression.


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