EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY and CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA

With IFF’s help, these three acclaimed Atlanta institutions pioneer the use of nanotechnology to gauge tumor size, stop tumor growth, shrink tumors, and give children, their oncologists and surgeons time they need to fight. The following projects have been successfully funded by IFF:

“GAG” Project

Our most recent project, funded through Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, is referred to as the “GAG”

Project. This research is a novel strategy to physically contain slow growing tumors by spraying or bathing tumors with molecules that repel brain tumor cells. Therefore, our researchers are developing a brain tissue reactive material that can surround tumors to stop them from invading or growing into other regions. When successfully designed, the novel materials will “GAG” tumor growth, using naturally occurring sugars called CS-GAGs.

Imipramine Blue Project

This project creates a clear delineation of tumor margins for resection during surgery. Approximately 35% of all surgeries result in residual tumor left in the child. Using nanotechnology to mark tumor margins clearly with a blue solution provides surgeons accurate visual clues for resection during surgery with the goal of being able to resect the entire tumor safely, while sparing only healthy cells.

“Our results show imipramine blue stops tumor invasion into healthy tissue and enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy. These results reveal a new strategy for treating brain cancer and could improve clinical outcomes.”

– Dr. Ravi Bellamkonda

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 Tumor Inhibitor Band Project

With time being the most sacred possession to a child and their family, this project focuses on the creation of a solution using nanotechnology which will in fact band a tumor in order to inhibit its growth, shrink the tumor, and give a child, their oncologists and surgeons time to act accordingly.

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Nano Carrier Intervention Project

This project was designed to identify a novel nano carrier based intervention that limits the spread of brain tumors enabling conventional chemotherapy to be effective for invasive tumors. To date, the results seen are the first demonstration of invasive tumors being successfully treated with chemotherapy and which in turn, limits tumor spreading with nanotechnology. Results will be published shortly.

Tumor Migration Project

This research focuses on migration of tumors and excavation of cells. By directing tumor cells away from the interior of the brain to a location where they can be removed or killed more safely, this project has potential to open a new avenue for treatment of other invasive solid tumors such as brain stem tumors. This project may prove to be a “game changer” for cancers thought to be incurable because they are located in an inoperable region and/or because they are resistant or inaccessible to the delivery of chemotherapy agents. This project received the “EUREKA” award, (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) the first time ever won by anyone in Georgia’s history, and a 1 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH). This research would not have been possible without IFF.

For more information, visit:

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Our Research Partnerships

To date, Ian’s Friends Foundation has committed millions of dollars toward pediatric brain tumor research at the cutting-edge research institutions listed below.

Long-term goal is to improve understanding of tumor metabolism to design more effective therapies.
Long-term goal is to improve understanding of tumor metabolism to design more effective therapies.
New biorepository will provide the technology to grow and store cancer cells for use in brain tumor research.
New biorepository will provide the technology to grow and store cancer cells for use in brain tumor research.
Together, these Atlanta institutions pioneer the use of nanotechnology to gauge tumor size, stop tumor growth, and shrink tumors.
Together, these Atlanta institutions pioneer the use of nanotechnology to gauge tumor size, stop tumor growth, and shrink tumors.
Research focused on uncovering the mechanisms by which gene fusions contribute to tumor formation in pediatric low grade gliomas.
Research focused on uncovering the mechanisms by which gene fusions contribute to tumor formation in pediatric low grade gliomas.
Objective is to determine if an electrical stimulations regimen can arrest the division of dividing brain tumor cells.
Objective is to determine if an electrical stimulations regimen can arrest the division of dividing brain tumor cells.
Working to find biomarkers for brain tumors to make the diagnosis of tumor types easier, track their growth or even, no recurrence.
Working to find biomarkers for brain tumors to make the diagnosis of tumor types easier, track their growth or even, no recurrence.
Research focused on proteins which are active in pediatric low-grade gliomas. From this research, NYU hopes to better select molecular targeted drugs directed at these pathways.
Research focused on proteins which are active in pediatric low-grade gliomas. From this research, NYU hopes to better select molecular targeted drugs directed at these pathways.
Research focused on using new brain imaging techniques to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of pediatric brain tumors.
Research focused on using new brain imaging techniques to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of pediatric brain tumors.
Research establishing the feasibility of using interstitial infusion for treating pediatric brain stem gliomas. FDA approved clinical trial underway.
Research establishing the feasibility of using interstitial infusion for treating pediatric brain stem gliomas. FDA approved clinical trial underway.