Grants - North Carolina - Designated Grants - 2018

David Ashley, M.D., Ph.D.

Funded in partnership with the Buster and Kristen Posey Fund with support from Apple Gold Group

Despite numerous clinical trials for children with high grade glioma, including diffuse pontine glioma, either at initial diagnosis or recurrence, over the past 4 decades, there has been little improvement in patient outcome. In contrast, in the past few years major advances have been made in understanding the molecular underpinnings of these tumors.  Specific, gene mutations in the genes encoding the histone H3.3 (H3F3A) and H3.1 (HIST1H3B, HIST1H3C) variants, along with BRAF V600E, mark distinct subgroups of disease in children and young adults. This proposal will combine our innovations in the clinic using the genetically recombinant poliovirus PVSRIPO with targeting technology aimed at these exploiting these mutations as targets.   

In the currently accruing adult trials and the planned initial pediatric high grade glioma trial, PVSRIPO is administered by delivery into the tumor, via a surgical approach. In many pediatric glioma patients, diffuse infiltrating growth or location (e.g. diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas; DIPG) precludes such intra-tumoral administration.   

We plan to test a modified PVSRIPO technology for peripheral immunization with tumor-specific targets to create a viable alternative in pediatric brain tumors. We have recently developed robust technology to modify PVSRIPO for use as an immunization vector and have demonstrated PVSRIPO vectors do not require intratumoral administration and are able to generate tumor antigen-specific immune responses. These discoveries will enable us to develop virus based vaccination strategies for pediatric brain tumor patients where tumor-specific antigens are homogeneously expressed.