Research And Grants

UPMC Children's Hospital – $50,000

Dr. Ian Pollack
Grant Amount



September 2021

Research Type


Cancer Type


The Role of QPRT and NAD Pathways in DIPG Treatment Resistance

The proposed study will provide insights into a novel strategy to inhibit energy metabolism as a potential way to tackle treatment-resistant high-grade gliomas (HGGs) and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), the most commonly fatal brain tumors of childhood. This work incorporates our unique resource of treatment-naïve and treatment-resistant models to examine the role of NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) production, which is critical for energy use in these tumors, and how blocking this process may provide an innovative treatment approach. Our observations, using drugs currently in clinical trials, will define underlying causes of resistance in DIPGs, which has been an ongoing problem for children with these tumors. The intriguing findings of our preliminary studies support a hypothesis that treatment-resistant cells have strong dependence on mediators of NAD+ production, such as the enzyme QPRT (quinolinic acid phosphoribosyltransferase). NAD+-driven pathways, in turn, activate enzymes that are critical for glucose usage, which appears to provide tumor cells with a survival advantage.  We seek to identify targets for treatment that can be exploited to improve the chances for cure in children with DIPG and HGG.