Legacy Program in Brain Cancer Announced at Biden Cancer Summit
On Friday, Sep. 21, Duane Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., publicly announced the new Legacy in Brain Cancer initiative on a national stage at the Biden Cancer Summit.
The Legacy Program in Brain Cancer, led by UF Health, will be among the largest collective efforts focused on brain tumor immunotherapy worldwide. The investigators collaborating on this initiative come from the University of Florida, Duke University Medical Center, Children’s National Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute, Broad Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and Stanford University.
The focus of the collaboration is to spur development of curative treatments for children and adults with brain tumors by harnessing the power of the body’s own immune system, a treatment known as immunotherapy.
Currently, five-year survival for patients diagnosed with the most aggressive brain tumors ranges from less than 1 percent to less than 10 percent. These statistics are unacceptably low and haven’t changed significantly in decades, said Mitchell, co-leader of the UF Health Cancer Center Cancer Therapeutics and Host Response research program.
“We’re excited about joint efforts to bring forward immunologic treatments and catalyze immunotherapy research for brain tumors,” said Mitchell, also director of the UF Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program. “The Legacy Program is really designed to be a sustained 10-year initiative to reframe the prospects of long-term survival for patients with brain cancer using immunotherapy.”
Mitchell was invited to publicly announce the initiative at the national Biden Cancer Summit in Washington, D.C. and more than 450 Biden Community Summits were held across the country. The Summit aimed to bring together thousands of people to focus national attention on “the urgency of now to create actionable solutions in the fight against cancer.”
The UF Health Cancer Center and the Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy hosted one of the Biden Cancer Community Summit at the UF Cancer and Genetics Research Complex. The event, which was open to the public, started at 2 p.m. and featured seven UF speakers that presented their research and ideas on how to combat this deadly disease. View the Cancer Center’s live tweets from the event here.
“Essentially glioblastomas are the Death Star – and we’re the rebel forces that are going to destroy it,” said speaker Maryam Rahman, M.D., in her presentation on extending survival for glioblastoma. “We plan to harness the patients’ own immune system to create treatments that work.”
At 3:35 p.m., attendees tuned into the Biden Cancer Summit livestream to watch Dr. Mitchell’s talk.
The event concluded with a reception followed in the CGRC lobby, where Vice President Joe Biden’s talk, “Ending Cancer as We Know It,” was livestreamed. The D.C. Summit culminated in a Cancer Town Hall with Vice President Joe Biden and experts in cancer prevention, research, care, and survivorship fielding questions from a broad-based audience.
Learn more about the Legacy Program in Brain Cancer here.