Grants - Michigan - Designated Grants - 2016

Luigi Franchi, M.D., Ph.D.

Funded by the Dick Vitale Gala in memory of Chad Carr

Approximatively 10 percent of deadly brain tumors in children are diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), an aggressive cancer that impacts the body’s most vital functions such as breathing and heart rate. DIPG originates from a genetic mutation and creates an environment that hides cancer cells from the immune system, preventing it from recognizing and fighting the disease. While the prognosis for DIPG has not significantly improved in 25 years, immunotherapy — an approach that encourages the immune system to protect against malignant tumors — has yielded remarkable results in patients with otherwise incurable cancers.
Support from the V-Foundation will help U-M scientists as we seek to identify which genetic mutations in DIPG can be targeted in each patient to restore the immune function, either alone or in combination with other immunotherapeutic methods.