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$6 Million Award from Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Will Establish Research Institute at Duke Cancer Center

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- A $6 million award from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation will establish and fund a new institute at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center that will be devoted exclusively to pediatric brain tumor research.

The primary goal of the new Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Institute at Duke will be to develop innovative and less-invasive clinical treatments for children diagnosed with brain tumors.

The $6 million award from the non-profit Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, based in Asheville, is the foundation's largest award ever. The 20-year-old foundation is the world's largest non-governmental source of funding for pediatric brain tumor research. The $6 million award also represents the largest foundation award ever received by the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"This award from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation will allow our researchers to aggressively pursue their studies to establish better treatment and care of children with brain tumors," said Ralph Snyderman, M.D., chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of the Duke University Health System. "The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation has had a long and extraordinarily supportive relationship with Duke, and we are extremely grateful for their confidence in us and for their outstanding work to fight pediatric brain tumors."

Brain tumors are the most deadly of childhood cancers. While about 60 percent of children with brain tumors survive at least five years from the time of diagnosis, this figure has improved only slightly in the past 25 years. Current treatment is often toxic to the normal brain, and survivors often have significant problems in brain and spinal cord function. Research has yielded innovative treatment possibilities, including new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Darell Bigner, M.D., Ph.D., the Edwin L. Jones Jr. and Lucille Finch Jones Cancer Research Professor and deputy director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named director of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Institute at Duke.

"This gift will make a significant impact on our ability to continue our research and care in the most effective manner," said Bigner. "The creation of this institute will provide us with the means to continue this fight against pediatric brain tumors and to make critical progress."

Mike Traynor, president of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, said his organization "has worked tirelessly to raise money and contribute those funds in the most effective way to develop new research and treatment options for pediatric brain tumors. We hope this research institute will be the first of many.

"Duke offers a wonderful collaboration between the scientific community and patients, and we firmly believe that there is no better person than Dr. Bigner to lead this effort dedicated to the eradication of brain tumors."

About the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation funds medical research grants to help find the cause and cure of childhood brain tumors. It helped create the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States, the largest U.S. brain tumor database, and provided support to establish the international journal Neuro-Oncology. The foundation also funds conferences on brain tumors and provides a variety of services and programs for families and others. Its Web site is www.pbtfus.org.

About the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center has been designated "comprehensive" by the National Cancer Institute for its research excellence and contributions to clinical trials, education and other fields. The Brain Tumor Center at Duke is one of the world's leading pediatric and adult neuro-oncology programs, offering more active clinical trials than any other treatment center. Additional information is available at www.cancer.duke.edu.

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