Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Oren J. Becher, MD

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, is an incurable brain cancer that mostly strikes young children. The median survival rate is less than one year after diagnosis. To date, there are no chemotherapeutic or targeted agents that have proven to be beneficial for treatment of these cancers. Dr. Becher leads one of very few laboratories around the world that focus exclusively on this type of deadly brain cancer. He has identified EZH2-mediated epigenetic mechanisms that underlie the development of DIPG. He is uniquely positioned to ask important scientific questions about DIPG that have the potential to impact clinical care in the future. The Continuation Grant will be applied to studies that first define the mechanisms of gliomagenesis using genetic mouse models, then develop preclinical models of the disease. His goal is to identify the most effective drugs against this type of brain cancer and then translate these findings by testing the drugs in clinical trials for children afflicted with this type of brain cancer.


Project title: "Regional differences in central nervous system gliomagenesis"
Institution: Northwestern University
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Darell D. Bigner, MD, PhD, Katherine E. Warren, MD, and Michael Kastan, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: Pediatric, Brain
Research Area: Animal Models/Mouse Models