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2023 NF1 Gene Therapy Awardees

By April 14, 2023January 17th, 2024Awards & Grants



The Children’s Tumor Foundation is pleased to announce the funding of three 2023 awards as part of the NF1 Gene Therapy Initiative, a research program focused on gene-based therapeutic approaches for the treatment of NF1.


Jiangbing Zhou, PhD, Yale University

Targeted Delivery of Gene Replacement Therapy for NF1 Plexiform Neurofibromas

Award amount: $323,375 for a duration of two years

The goal of this project is to develop next-generation nanoparticles designed for targeted delivery of full-length human NF1 cDNA preferentially to plexiform neurofibromas (pNF). This study will also characterize the therapy in animal models and target specific human pNF-relevant pathogenic variants. Successful completion of the study will result in novel therapeutic regimens for improved treatment of pNFs.






Harish Vasudevan, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco

Too Much of a GAP: Full-length NF1 Reconstitution in Neurofibroma and MPNST

Award amount: $329,445 for a duration of two years

This project aims to define the mechanistic effects, functional requirement, and anti-tumor efficacy of NF1 gene therapy in the peripheral nervous system. The researcher will study how full-length neurofibromin restoration differs from that of GAP-related domain (GRD) alone or an arginine finger mutant (R1276P) incapable of inactivating Ras. This study will be critical to define the parts of the NF1 gene required for successful gene therapy for NF1.



 Nicholas Boulis, MD, Emory University

Patient-derived Plexiform Neurofibromas Organoid Model for Drug Repositioning in Precision Medicine

Award amount: $164,817 for a duration of one year

This study aims to develop a patient-derived pNF and MPNST organoid system that preserves tumor heterogeneity and microenvironmental features and can be used for both high throughput pharmacological screening (HTS) as well as transplantation in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Using a peripheral nerve tumor bank and an existing FDA-approved compound library, the study will identify candidates for translational therapy and demonstrate the proof of concept of this methodology in pNF and MPNST.







The CTF NF1 Gene Therapy Initiative is funding a research program focused on gene-based therapeutic approaches for the treatment of NF1.