Dr. Braun

Endometriosis Institute

Dr. BraunDonald Braun, Ph.D. received his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 1972.  In 1976, he was awarded his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees as a designated National Cancer Institute (USA) Immunology and Oncology trainee from the Department of Microbiology/Immunology of the University of Illinois Medical Center.  He joined Rush Medical College in Chicago in 1978 where he currently is a Professor of Medicine and Professor of Immunology/Microbiology, and the Director of Scientific Program Development of the Rush Cancer Institute.

Dr. Braun is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in the immunology of human malignant diseases and related diseases with immune system etiologies.  He is widely recognized for his work in defining the central role of the monocyte in the immunodeficiency of cancer patients and for demonstrating that abnormal prostaglandin metabolism by the monocyte is the principle mechanism whereby immunological changes associated with solid tumors develop. 

His interest in the etiology and pathogenicity of endometriosis stems from his work in gynecological malignancies, in which he demonstrated the impact of abnormal prostaglandin metabolism on macrophage mediated tumor killing in patients with ovarian cancers.  By applying principles learned in those studies to investigations of women with endometriosis, Drs. Braun, Howard Gebel, and Dmowski, have demonstrated that many of the functional changes associated with monocytes in ovarian cancer patients are also present in women with endometriosis.  A major difference, however, between endometriosis and gynecological malignancy is the impact that these monocyte functions have on the gynecological tissues themselves.  Thus, in malignant disease, macrophage activation is inhibited which permits gynecological tumor cells to escape immune mediated destruction.  In women with endometriosis, however, misplaced endometrium within the pelvis or peritoneal cavity exploits the products of macrophages to facilitate implantation and growth of the endometrium in ectopic locations.  

A major challenge for the current generation of studies conducted in this program is to learn how to stimulate the positive effects while shutting off  the negative effects of macrophages on endometrial cell growth in women with endometriosis. Dr. Braun is the author of more than 90 original research articles in peer reviewed literature, 20 reviews and book chapters, and the editor of 1 textbook.  He is a past member of both the Experimental Therapeutics Study Section and the Small Business Innovation Research Grant Study Section of the National Cancer Institute (USA).  He has served on the Illinois Cancer Council on both the Research Advisory Committee and the Biological Response Modifier Committee of that organization, and is a former member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Chicago Leukemia Society.  He is currently a member of the Immunology and Immunotherapy Advisory Committee of the American Cancer Society and a reviewing member of the Arizona Disease Research Control Commission.   He is also a member of numerous professional societies including the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Braun can be reached by email at dfinkler@oakbrookfertility.com.

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