Miami Cancer Institute

Miami Cancer Institute Receives State of Florida Grant for Brain Metastases Trial

May 30, 2024

MIAMI, FL – May 30, 2024 – Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida, was awarded a $984,940.64 grant from the Casey DeSantis Florida Cancer Innovation Fund for a multicenter clinical trial that targets brain metastases, led by physician researcher, Manmeet Ahluwalia, M.D. The Phase I trial of trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-Dxd) with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in patients with brain metastases from HER-2-positive breast cancer hopes to combine two therapeutic avenues to effectively shrink or eliminate brain tumors.

“We are incredibly grateful for this grant. It provides a unique opportunity to advance our research and treatment in breast cancer brain metastases,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, M.D., MBA, FASCO, principal investigator of the trial and deputy director, chief scientific officer, and chief of medical oncology at Miami Cancer Institute, and Fernandez Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. “With this funding, we can pursue innovative approaches such as studying the effectiveness of combining trastuzumab deruxtecan with stereotactic radiosurgery in clinical settings, potentially improving patient outcomes.”

Breast cancer brain metastases represent a significant unmet medical need, and innovative approaches are urgently required to improve patient outcomes The grant will enable Dr. Ahluwalia to serve as the principal investigator for the trial, in partnership with all four National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers in the State of Florida. It illustrates the caliber of cancer research that is taking place in South Florida and the state as a whole.

The fund will be utilized to allocate key personnel involved in the project. Their expertise and dedication are crucial for the successful execution and analysis of the trial. In addition, a portion of the funding will be allocated to coordinate collaborative efforts across multiple institutions in the state. Lastly, substantial funds will be dedicated to cover essential clinical trial expenses that include the initiation of the study, administrative costs, regulatory compliance, and monitoring of the study.

“Conducting a Phase I trial allows us to assess the safety and preliminary efficacy of this combination therapy, paving the way for further clinical development and potentially transforming the treatment landscape for this challenging condition,” said Dr. Ahluwalia. “This funding will play a vital role in initiating patient recruitment and enable us to expand our reach, thereby maximizing the impact of our research and advancing our understanding of this novel combination therapy.”

About Miami Cancer Institute

Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology programs in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK. For more information, please visit

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health Cancer Care, the largest cancer program in South Florida, with locations from the Florida Keys to the Palm Beaches.


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