early 11 years had passed since losing her husband to brain cancer when Anita Zucker stood before a ballroom filled with some of the world’s top brain cancer experts in February. While the pain of losing her beloved life partner was as profound as it was a decade earlier, on this day, Zucker focused on the hope of a brighter future for patients fighting malignant brain tumors and on the potential of this unique meeting of the minds during the inaugural ReMission Summit Against Brain Tumors.
“We can transform the future of brain cancer research through this summit and the efforts of each of you,” said Zucker, a UF Board of Trustees member and chair of the ReMission Summit. “We are driven by the same shared aspiration, a vision of a future where odds have shifted in favor of the patient, where a brain tumor diagnosis is a comma, not a full stop, in a patient’s life.”
Hosted by the University of Florida and UF Health, the ReMission Summit was held Feb. 22-24 at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel in Orlando, bringing together more than 100 expert investigators and physician-scientists from major brain tumor research centers in the U.S., Canada and Germany at the invitation of UF Health’s Duane Mitchell, MD, PhD, and William A. Friedman, MD.
The summit officially launched the new ReMission Alliance Against Brain Tumors, a groundbreaking, collaborative initiative led by UF that will unite world-leading neuro-oncology physicians and scientists in the advancement of brain tumor immunotherapy research and clinical trials.
“Our goal for the alliance is to transform brain cancer research and improve patient survivability over the next 10 years,” said Mitchell, co-director of the ReMission Alliance with Friedman.
Earlier this year, Orlando hotel magnate Harris Rosen and The Harris Rosen Foundation made a $12 million gift to UF to help launch the unprecedented initiative. The gift is the cornerstone of a $100 million fundraising commitment to support neurologic initiatives.
Rosen was drawn to the alliance’s collaborative approach to pooling resources and research expertise. He said this type of partnership can create a paradigm shift in research and treatment of brain cancer and engineer a brighter future for patients like his son Adam, who passed away in November 2018 after a two-and-a-half-year battle with brain cancer.
“Instead of a competitive, non-caring, non-sharing philosophy, the ReMission Alliance shall forever change this rather Stone Age approach to a much more pragmatic, productive and sharing initiative,” Rosen said. “In addition, we have no doubt that this new collaborative philosophy will dramatically impact in a very positive way the timeframe within which brain cancer treatments and cures shall be discovered.”
The Rosen gift will also bolster ongoing research efforts at UF Health. The suite that houses the UF Health Neuromedicine practice at the UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital and the neuro-oncology laboratories within UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute will be named in honor of Adam Michael Rosen.
Mitchell said they plan to reconvene the ReMission Summit annually for the next 10 years.