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Nov 21, 2013
The 'H' is needed… until there is a cure.

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"The H Foundation is a model for community commitment to the cause of cancer prevention and elimination." – Dr. Steve Rosen, Director, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

All monies raised by The H Foundation go directly to Basic Science Cancer Research. This allows scientists to pursue novel ideas to detect cancer earlier and with greater precision. These ideas are then built into a portfolio of research knowledge to compete for grants from other foundations. This "seed money" for basic research leads to millions of dollars from additional private funding allowing the center to continue the fight to cure cancer.

The Results:

$20,000 Grant Turns Into $21 Million!

Dr. Teresa Woodruff''s desire to promise young patients a healthy reproductive future after going through cancer treatment became a true reality with the help of The H Foundation. The H Foundation provided Teresa with a $20,000 grant to begin the extensive research process of these treatment and preservation options. After showing such promise and true medical results, The Feinberg School was later awarded a $21 million grant to study the fertility threats posed to young men, women, and children after cancer treatment. Dr. Woodruff has coined the term Oncofertility to describe a new discipline that bridges the information and technology gaps between oncology and reproductive medicine, providing viable fertility preservation options for people with cancer and other fertility threatening diseases. Teresa has since established The Oncofertility Consortium to address the complex health care and quality-of-life issues that concern young cancer patients. The main goal is to establish a multidisciplinary, inter-institutional and inter-professional network of medical specialists, scientists, and scholars to study the relationship between health, disease, survivorship, and fertility preservation in young cancer patients. This is just one example of how The H Foundation helps provide the start-up funds that are then matched and thousands of dollars is able to turn into millions. To learn more about The H Foundation Awards read the enclosed insert and for more information on The Oncofertility Consortium at the Lurie Center, visit: http://oncofertility.northwestern.edu.

Other Success Stories:

Dr. Hamid Band is studying how healthy cells eliminate proteins while cancer cells do not. He indicates that the H Foundation funding was instrumental in furthering his cell biological work, resulting in a five-year grant worth $1 million.

Navdeep Chandel is studying the mechanisms that cause growing tumors to survive as they enlarge. The H Foundation funding provided the funds to generate preliminary data that resulted in a grant worth $282,526.

An H Foundation award provided early support for Kathy Green who is exploring the importance of cell-cell adhesion in normal tissue function and cancer. She was awarded five years of support after a single round of review worth over $1.3 million.

The H Foundation provided Sui Huang bridge funds that enabled her to continue studying cell structures and receive a grant of $190,000.

Ted Jardetzky and Rich Longnecker are developing novel inhibitors of the Epstein-Barr virus with the hope of blocking the resulting cancers. An H Foundation Bridge Award helped secure grants totaling $430,471.

For Carole LaBonne, The H Foundation Award that allowed a first time submission of an NIH proposal to the NCI. The grant was funded for $250,000, and the project has since led to further developments in discovering a novel approach to blocking tumor metastasis.

Paul Stein received grants totaling $922,500 to continue his study of signaling in the immune system. An H Foundation award was helpful in providing bridge support one year before receiving this funding.

Sharon Stack is studying oral cancer and has investigated the molecules that cause cells to stick to each other or pull apart. The H Foundation funds enabled her to support this project which led to a grant from the National Institute of Health worth over $1 million.

An H Foundation Incentive Award provided Boris Pasche the ability to generate preliminary data while studying genes that predispose certain cells to become cancerous. He then received a $250,000 grant to continue these difficult genetic studies.

The Developmental Therapeutics Core of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (DTC) was a major recipient of The H Foundation funding over the last year.  This new core facility provides services focused on supporting the translation of new cancer therapeutics to the clinic. The H Foundation funding was critical to the launch of this new core, which provides a full suite of tumor biology and translational support including assessment of drug activity and mechanism of action, as well as exploratory drug development activities such as pharmacokinetics and toxicology.  With their expertise in disease models, drug development and assessment, and clinical translation, the DTC has already assisted over 70 Lurie Cancer Center Researchers.  Launching the DTC with new equipment and hiring a technical staff could not have happened without the support of The H Foundation.

Dr. Lonnie Shea received an H Foundation Pilot Project Award for use in the Developmental Therapeutics Core and the Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging facility to generate preliminary data that demonstrates that biomaterial scaffolds can be created that attract metastatic cancer cells, and these cancer cells preferentially go to the scaffolds rather than the typical metastatic sites (lung, brain).  Using this preliminary data Dr. Shea then leveraged a prestigious five year Transformative R01 grant from the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health worth over four million dollars to research how the pre-metastatic niche supports tumor cell survival and growth.  These studies will contribute to identifying the factors that determine metastatic homing, and could lead to the development of interventions to prevent metastatic cell engraftment. Additionally, these scaffolds could be employed to reduce the numbers of circulating tumor cells, which could delay the progression of metastatic disease.

An H Foundation Pilot Award for use in the Center for Advanced Molecular Imaging was recently awarded to Dr. Jennifer Koblinski for her research on the arrival of breast cancer cells to the brain.  Approximately 10-20% of breast cancer patients have brain metastases, which is a late complication of breast cancer. Few effective treatment options exist for this deadly disease. Therefore, resolving the mechanisms of metastasis to the brain is clinically important.  Their pilot experiments indicate that they can image breast cancer cell metastases in the brain 5, 7, and 12 days after injection of the tumor cells into mice.  In January, they will do a full experiment examining the role of a cell surface receptor in the metastasis of breast cancer to the brain.  These experiments will help them validate their in vitro studies and submit a manuscript they are currently preparing to a high impact journal.  In addition, these results will be used in a R01 submission to the National Cancer Institutes planned for next fall.