100% of all donations fund DIPG research

Dr Sujatha

When forming the Marc Jr Foundation’s Research & Grant funding program, it was the Board of Directors’ primary goal to ensure donors that 100% of the money donated through this program went to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) research programs. The Marc Jr Foundation has successfully funded their Family Support Initiatives through community supported events and plans to continue this tradition and direct all money donated to Research toward Research!


We are asking for a minimum monthly recurring donation of $10. Your donation is tax deductible. There is no obligation, and you can cancel at any time simply by emailing mjdonation@marcjr.org.


The current research being funded is led by Dr. Nick Foreman, director of pediatric neuro-oncology at Children’s Hospital Colorado; Rajeev Vibhakar, MD, PhD, MPH, director of the neuro-oncology program at Children’s Hospital Colorado; and Sujatha Venkataraman of the University of Colorado, Denver, with expertise in oncology and is on ResearchGate, a social networking site for scientists and researchers.


The Apodaca family formed a relationship with (i) Dr. Foreman when he treated Marc Jr after diagnosis of DIPG in 2007; (ii) Dr. Sujatha Venkataraman, a brilliant and passionate DIPG researcher, who lost a son to pediatric cancer and is dedicated to finding a cure; and (iii) Dr. Vibhakar after seeing his passion and determination in finding a CURE for DIPG tumors. We encourage you—WE IMPLORE YOU—to please consider a recurring donation—ESPECIALLY if you have been directly affected by a DIPG. When donating through the Marc Jr Foundation, you will have the assurance, comfort, and security of knowing your money is going toward a cure!


Our research addresses the critical and immediate need for the development of a new therapy for the Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). DIPG is a pediatric brain tumor of the brain stem that diffusely involves the pons, and the median survival from diagnosis is ~10 months. DIPG is the only pediatric tumor with the current survival rate of 0%. The pons controls critical functions like breathing and heart rate so surgery is considered dangerous. Therapy consists of radiation that provides only temporary relief. DIPG affects children globally between the ages of 4 and 11. New research identified DIPGs as being highly heterogeneous with various genetic and epigenetic alterations. Seventy percent of patients have mutations in histones. Since the tumor is in the brain stem and it affects only growing children, we think that the histone mutated DIPG tumorigenesis is driven by the developmental genes and/or stem cell developmental genes that are abnormally regulated in this tumor. To examine this we targeted 410 genes that are critical to developmental regulation by epigenetic mechanisms using advanced genomic tools. We found one specific developmental stem cell factor, BMI1, which was critical for DIPG cell survival. Our working model is that BMI1 drives DIPG tumorigenesis by promoting self-renewal of tumor stem cells and driving resistance to radiation and other standard therapies. Our goal is to find an effective drug that inhibits this BMI1 gene activity and thereby sensitizes the DIPG tumors to radiation and to FIND A CURE. ~ Dr. Sujatha Venkataraman (lead researcher)


If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to email mjdonate@marcjr.org.


The goal of the Marc Jr Foundation DIPG Research & Grant funding program is to ensure our donors that 100% of their donation will go toward DIPG research.


The Marc Jr Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. No goods or services were provided for this gift. Please consult your tax advisor regarding specific questions about your deductions.

100% of all donations from our supporters are allocated to DIPG research



Finding a cure through epigenetics