Research And Grants

Cincinnati Children's Hospital – $200,000

Qing Richard Lu
Grant Amount



November 2023

Research Type


Cancer Type


Targeting diffuse midline gliomas with innovative T cell immunotherapy

Diffuse midline gliomas (DMG), including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), are highly aggressive brain tumors that mainly affect children and currently have no cure. Traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation have limited success, leaving an urgent need for new therapies to improve survival rates while minimizing side effects. Chimeric antigen T cell (CAR T) therapies have shown great promise in treating certain cancers by directing the patient's own immune cells to target cancer cells. However, applying CAR T therapies to complex solid tumors like DIPG has been challenging due to the tumor's suppressive environment and the limitations of CAR T cells. To address these challenges, scientists have developed a new type of engineered immune cell called STAR T cells, which can target solid tumors more effectively than conventional CAR T cells. Importantly, H3K27M-mutant DIPG cells express a unique marker called GD2, making them a promising target for T-cell therapy. In this study, we will propose to investigate the effectiveness of anti-GD2-STAR T cells to target and kill DIPG tumor cells in both laboratory tests and animal studies. We will assess the tumor-killing capabilities of GD2-STAR T cells on DIPG cells and evaluate their effectiveness compared to the GD2-CAR T cells in animal models of DIPG. The success of this research could lead to more effective and improved treatment options for children facing these aggressive brain tumors. Ultimately, the goal is to find a breakthrough therapy that can offer better outcomes and a brighter future for young patients and their families.