Reitman Awarded Fellow Grant from The St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Zach Reitman

Zach Reitman, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $97,242 third-year Fellow grant from The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, for a total amount of more than $285,000.

This grant will support Dr. Reitman’s work with childhood brain tumors, specifically identifying new treatment approaches that improve the efficacy of radiation treatments, maximize tumor killing and reduce normal tissue toxicities. The grant will also support career development for Dr. Reitman by giving him critical experience with lab management, leadership and grant writing.

“This award supports research and career development activities,” said Dr. Reitman. “I’m gaining experience with leading a research team to carry out childhood brain tumor research studies. The work we complete will inform new clinical trials for patients with brain tumors, as well as provide me with the tools to establish a research lab dedicated to finding new treatments for children with brain tumors.”

Dr. Reitman is co-mentored by David Kirsch, MD, PhD, the Barbara Levine University Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology and a world expert on genetically engineered mouse models of cancer. He is also co-mentored by David Ashley, MBBS, PhD, the Rory David Deutsch Distinguished Professor of Neuro-Oncology, the Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke and a world expert on brain tumor therapeutic research. By combining the expertise of these two mentors, the St. Baldrick’s Fellowship is allowing Dr. Reitman to establish a niche of research expertise as he transitions from a mentored fellow to the director of an independent brain tumor research laboratory.

“Zach is using the critical support from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to generate novel genetically engineered mouse models that faithfully mimic the most lethal pediatric brain tumors,” said Dr. Kirsch. “This funding will position Zach to make important discoveries with these models in the future that can be translated into improved therapies for brain tumors.”

Christopher Willett, MD, Chair of Duke’s Department of Radiation Oncology, said, “Zach is an exceptional physician-scientist who is committed to improving the outcomes of patients with brain tumors. This grant will fund important research and contribute to Zach’s career development.”

About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer- and donor-powered charity committed to supporting research to find cures for childhood cancers. To date, St. Baldrick’s has committed more than $314 million to lifesaving research, making it the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants.

As the recipient of a St. Baldrick’s Fellow grant – also supported by Emily Beazley’s Kures for Kids – Dr. Reitman received three years of funding to provide him with training in childhood cancer research.

About the Reitman Lab

The goal of the Reitman Lab is to make discoveries that guide the design of improved treatment strategies for children and adults with brain tumors. The Reitman Lab is based in the Department of Radiation Oncology and the team works closely with the faculty and staff in the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, the Department of Neurosurgery and the Duke Cancer Institute.

The Reitman Lab has benefited from support from the Developmental Research Program and the Career Enhancement Program within the Duke Brain Tumor SPORE grant from the National Cancer Institute. The Lab has also received support from research foundations including the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation, the ChadTough Foundation, the SoSo Strong Foundation and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. Finally, the Reitman Lab is grateful from support from the Duke Cancer Institute, the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke and the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Neurosurgery.