Battling brain tumors –  Duane Mitchell M.D., Ph.D.

From left are Sheryl Shetsky, president of the Florida Brain Tumor Association, Mitchell and Paul Hale, the Florida Brain Tumor Association director of pediatrics.

From left are Sheryl Shetsky, president of the Florida Brain Tumor Association, Mitchell and Paul Hale, the Florida Brain Tumor Association director of pediatrics.

The Florida Brain Tumor Association recently donated $500,000 to the UF Foundation in support of Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., and his team’s research on pediatric brain tumors.

With a team of 10 researchers, Duane Mitchell M.D., Ph.D., is using new approaches to treat tumors that use a patient’s immune system to combat cancer alongside conventional treatments, such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

To aid these efforts and accelerate research in pediatric brain tumor immunotherapy, the Florida Brain Tumor Association and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure have awarded Mitchell $500,000.

Mitchell, who joined UF in July 2013, is the Phyllis Kottler Friedman professor in the department of neurosurgery and serves as director of the UF Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program and co-director of the Preston A. Wells, Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy at UF. His research currently focuses on immunologic treatment for both pediatric and adult brain cancer. He is the principal investigator of the first pediatric brain tumor immunotherapy trial at UF that is on schedule to open for enrollment this year.

“I’m most excited about what I believe will be significant improvements in treatments of patients with brain cancer in five to 10 years using immune-based treatments,” Mitchell said. “I think we’re going to see immunotherapy take its place among standard treatment for patients with malignant brain tumors. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to make a scientific contribution.” — Christine Boatwright

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