An essential component of the UF Health Cancer Center’s mission is conducting clinical research that directly impacts patients by delivering new and promising cancer treatments. The Cancer Center’s innovative clinical research, funded in part through the state of Florida, includes developing and implementing cancer clinical trials that bring opportunities for patients in Florida and beyond to access new cancer treatments. This leading-edge research ensures the Cancer Center provides patient care that meets the needs of the rural and diverse population it serves and contributes to advancing scientific progress for future patients.
Brian Ramnaraign, M.D., an assistant professor in the division of hematology and oncology in the department of medicine in the UF College of Medicine, is one of the clinical investigators at the Cancer Center who has dedicated his career to developing better treatments for patients with cancer, particularly genitourinary cancers and neuroendocrine tumors.
Ramnaraign earned his medical degree at St. George’s University. He completed his residency in internal medicine at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, where he had the opportunity to participate in rotations at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. After residency, he obtained a fellowship in geriatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. Ramnaraign went on to complete his hematology and oncology fellowship at the University of Florida. After his fellowship, he was recruited to join the UF faculty and UF Health Cancer Center given his expertise and distinction during his training.
Ramnaraign’s expertise and research interests are in genitourinary, gastrointestinal and neuroendocrine cancers. His work focuses on advancing targeted therapies and immunotherapies to provide personalized treatments to patients with advanced cancers.
Genitourinary cancers continue to present a major burden in the expansive region of North and Central Florida primarily served by the UF Health Cancer Center. Mortality rates for prostate and bladder cancer are higher in this area than they are in the rest of the state, and bladder cancer rates are also higher in the region than they are in the United States as a whole. Kidney cancer also has a higher incidence in the region and in the state relative to the rest of the country.
Ramnaraign is heavily involved in clinical trials on the national and local level. He has worked to bring several key National Cancer Institute-funded studies to UF to offer patients access to new cancer treatments. He serves on national committees aimed to design the next generation of treatments for neuroendocrine tumors. At UF, Ramnaraign is the co-leader and clinical investigator on a study evaluating a new way to activate the immune system in patients with cancer who typically do not respond to immunotherapy.
“Cancer care has come a long way in the past several decades, and we continue to develop more effective and less toxic therapies,” Ramnaraign said. “Immunotherapy studies are a great example of how we are advancing safe, effective cancer treatment. We are investigating ways to selectively turn on the immune system and allow it to identify and kill cancer cells. Through these clinical trials, we hope to offer patients better treatments with better outcomes.”
“We are investigating ways to selectively turn on the immune system and allow it to identify and kill cancer cells. Through these clinical trials, we hope to offer patients better treatments with better outcomes.”Brian Ramnaraign, M.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Florida College of Medicine
Support from the state of Florida through the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Act (Fla. Stat. § 381.915) has been critical to the Cancer Center’s recruitment and retention of rising stars in cancer clinical research. Ramnaraign is an example of a cancer physician and scientist who is developing and bringing forward new therapies for patients in Florida and beyond. The program was established to enhance the quality and competitiveness of cancer care in Florida, further a statewide biomedical research strategy, and capitalize on the educational opportunities. Through this program, the state provides funding to Florida cancer centers that have achieved designation from the National Cancer Institute and those working to achieve the designation.