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Development of a CNS-penetrant synthetic oleanane triterpenoid for DIPG

John Letterio, MD

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare type of brain tumor that most often occurs in children 6-8 years of age. Unfortunately, prognosis remains poor as surgery and chemotherapy are not effective.  Radiation treatment has been shown to extend life up to 6 months; however, radiation resistance remains a significant clinical challenge. With funding from CURE Childhood Cancer, Dr. John Letterio at Case Western Reserve University is testing synthetic drug candidates, SOTs (synthetic oleanane triterpenoids) which may reduce the tumor’s ability to develop resistance to radiation. SOTs work by blocking inflammatory cells which are thought to be responsible for radiation resistance. Such co-treatments (radiation + SOTs) could be rapidly advanced in the clinic and provide immediate benefit to children with DIPG.