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FBTA is proud to announce, thanks to the generous donors of the Bret Hale Memorial Fund, the recent signing of a gift agreement with the University of Florida Foundation (UFF). A check in the amount of $500,000.00 was presented to the Director of the newly established Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program (UFBTIP), Dr. Duane Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell, who was formerly with the Duke Brain Tumor Program, joined UF's Brain Tumor Therapy Team in July.

The mission of the UFBTIP is to advance a safe and effective cure for pediatric and adult malignant brain tumors. It aims to achieve this objective through harnessing the specificity and killing power of the immune system to recognize and reject malignant brain tumor cells while rendering normal brain tissues unharmed. "Our current priority is a platform technology that focuses on adoptive cellular therapy coupled with tumor RNA-pulsed dendritic cell vaccines," said Dr. Mitchell.

Per the gift agreement, the check was deposited into the newly established Project B.R.E.T. Fund at UFF, where the monies will be managed. This restricted fund has been created to financially support the pediatric brain cancer research and clinical trials conducted under the direction of Dr. Mitchell. The mission of Project B.R.E.T. is to promote public awareness of the need for increased funding of pediatric cancer research so that, one day, an end will come to the threat a cancer diagnosis brings to children. Benefiting Research, Ending the Threatů.that's Project B.R.E.T.!

FBTA's leadership team firmly believes that the pathway Dr. Mitchell and his team are focused on to treat brain cancers will translate into improved clinical outcomes for patients. "It is our intention to increase public awareness of this new program, its mission and to solicit for grants/gifts so as to further Dr. Mitchell's vision," said Paul Hale, Director of FBTA's Pediatric Division. Coupled with a growing pipeline of sustained extramural funding support, the UFBTIP is aptly positioned to assume a leadership role in the successful development of effective treatments for pediatric and adult brain tumors.

FBTA is asking peer fundraising organizations throughout the state and the brain cancer community, at large, to strongly consider making gifts/grants to this promising new brain cancer therapy research program directed by Dr. Mitchell. By pooling our fundraising efforts into the Project B.R.E.T. Fund at UFF, we will allow a number of projects to come from UFBTIP. Hopefully, resulting in significant accomplishments and shared discoveries. Together, we can make a meaningful difference!

ABC2, an important fundraising partner of FBTA's, was first to meet this request, awarding a $75,000 grant to support a pediatric vaccine clinical trial at UFBTIP. "We believe FBTA, ABC2 and the Florida brain cancer community, working together with researchers like Dr. Mitchell, can truly make important and immediate impacts for patients," stated Max Wallace, CEO of ABC2.

We hope you are as excited as FBTA is about Dr. Mitchell, his team and the establishment of UFBTIP. It is delighted to be able to provide the Project B.R.E.T. Fund at UFF with its inaugural gift. FBTA takes great pride in knowing that the clinical trials being funded will be a collaboration between UF Shands and other major cancer research centers. FBTA has strived for many years to increase the collaborative brain cancer research efforts of our state's research institutions, convinced that this will only accelerate the pace of research.

It is FBTA's greatest wish that this gift will serve as a catalyst for growing and building on the UFBTIP vision. It is our hope it will also help to build a state-wide system that enables physicians and patients from around Florida to easily access the unique resources Dr. Mitchell and his team are building at UF. We want this to be the start of very significant financial support to one of the state's most prestigious cancer research institutions engaged in novel pediatric brain tumor research. For more information, please email us at floridabraintumor.com.