Microscope | June 2019

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(seated) Michael Nishimura, Ph.D. and Nasheed Hossain, M.D. with
Leukemia Research Foundation Board Members
(L to R) Blake Brandwein, Patty and Larry Mix, Frank Martinez,
and Executive Director Kevin Radelet

Leukemia Research Foundation Caregiver Workstation

Loyola University Medical Center officially unveiled the Leukemia Research Foundation Caregiver Workstation, for doctors, nurses, social workers and others who serve blood cancer patients. The Leukemia Research Foundation is supporting a CAR T-cell therapy clinical trial at Loyola with a lead gift of $250,000. Michael Nishimura, Ph.D. and Patrick Stiff, M.D. are principal investigators for the clinical trial, which will produce a CAR T-cell product that will provide less toxic side effects associated with CAR T-cell therapy and potentially increase the number of eligible patients.

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Grants to be Reviewed for 2019-2020 Funding

The Leukemia Research Foundation Medical Advisory Board (MAB) will meet in Chicago on June 8 to review blood cancer research projects and make its recommendations for funding. The Hollis Brownstein Research Grants Program awards grants to New Investigators, a critical research niche made up of scientists beginning to establish their own laboratories, who are no longer under the tutelage of a senior scientist mentor. The $100,000 grants allow these innovative scientists to try new procedures and experiments that will lead to significant breakthroughs.

Led by Medical Advisory Board Chairman Dr. Patrick Stiff, medical director of the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. and using the same scoring method used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to evaluate and rank the projects, the MAB will submit its final recommendations to the Leukemia Research Foundation Board of Directors in June. The 2019-2020 grant year begins Monday, July 1. Help the Leukemia Research Foundation fund more research grants by clicking here to donate now.

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Nancy A. Speck, Ph.D.

Leukemia Research Foundation-funded Researcher Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Congratulations to Nancy A. Speck, Ph.D. from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Speck, who was funded by the Leukemia Research Foundation in 1990, was elected by her peers in recognition of her achievements in original research. She is known internationally as a leader in hematology. Read more here.

Speck is chairman of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine, co-leader, Hematologic Malignancies Program at the Abramson Cancer Center, and an investigator at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.


Wei Du, M.D., Ph.D.

Leukemia Research Foundation-funded Researcher’s Findings Published

Wei Du, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues may have found a link between how stem cells make energy and Fanconi anemia, a disease that is usually diagnosed in children and sometimes develops into leukemia. Read more here.

Doctor Du’s findings could not only improve treatment but also enhance researchers’ understanding of gene therapy techniques.

Doctor Du is an assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy and co-leader of the Alexander B. Osborn Hematopoietic Malignancy and Transplantation Program of the Cancer Institute at West Virginia University. Her research was supported by the Leukemia Research Foundation in 2017.


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Conference Videos Now Available Online

Videos from the 15th Annual Treatment Options for Blood Cancer Patients Conference are now available for viewing online on the Leukemia Research Foundation website. Click here to access the videos.

Nearly 190 people attended the Conference, which was hosted in partnership with Loyola University Health System and the National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match. Presentations included seven blood cancer topics, as well as a Physicians Panel-Ask the Experts session in which all of the presenting doctors participated. Thank you to the sponsors and medical experts who made the Conference possible.

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CAR T-cell Therapy Presented at Road to a Cure

Information and the latest in research developments about CAR T-cell Therapy: Efficacy, Treatment, Access was presented to close to 100 attendees at the 3rd Annual Road to a Cure. Thank you to Michael Nishimura, Ph.D. from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine for delivering the presentation and to Cancer Wellness Center In Northbrook, Ill., which partnered with the Leukemia Research Foundation to host the program. The program made possible in part by the David Wortman Memorial Fund. Slides from the presentation are available now on the Leukemia Research Foundation website. Click here.

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Give a Gift that Fights Blood Cancer This Father’s Day

Purchase a Father’s Day gift online with the added bonus of fighting blood cancers through ShoppingGives.com. Choose from hundreds of online retailers you already know. Up to 40% of each purchase amount will be donated to Leukemia Research Foundation! Click this link, then click “shop and give back” to shop today.

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Innovative Research Depends On Your Support

Significant progress toward finding a cure for blood cancers is unmistakable. Since 1975, the five-year survival rate for all types of leukemia has doubled from 32% to more than 64% and for the most common form of childhood leukemia it is more than 90%. Other blood cancers have seen similar, positive advances. Blood cancer research is considered the superhighway to understanding many cancers and autoimmune diseases.

New Investigator research grants for the upcoming year will be awarded in June, 2019. Your continued support is needed! Please click here to give today so that we can continue to provide this crucial funding to the best and brightest new researchers and enable them to work toward their goal of FINDING A CURE!


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Register Now for the 25th Annual ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk

The 25th Annual ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk will take place on Thursday, June 13 at Arvey Field in Chicago’s Grant Park. Click here to sign up now. In honor of Global Running Day on Wednesday, June 5, adults can get $5.00 off registration by using promo code GRD when registering. The promo code is valid until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, June 6.

  • Pre-Event Packet Pick-Up is available on Tuesday, June 11 at from 10:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at Fleet Feet Sports Chicago – South Loop Store at 150 W. Roosevelt Road in Chicago.
  • The event site opens at 4:30 p.m. Gear Check is available for briefcases, purses, back packs, etc. Gear check is open from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
  • Kids Tent opens at 4:30 p.m. This is an area especially for kids to do craft projects and other fun stuff before and after the run/walk. Make sure to get a photo with Batman!
  • The run starts at approximately 6:25 p.m. and is broadcast live on ABC 7 Chicago. Find a course map here. Walkers start a few minutes after runners.

Post run/walk activities include food and beverages and entertainment provided by DJ Dan Luna. Make sure to sign the Wall of Hope, visit the Heroes of Hope Tent to meet others who have been touched by a blood cancer and be inspired by their stories. An awards ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. The top three male and female runners will receive a commemorative medal. Medals will also be handed out to the top 3 male and female runners in each five-year age category.


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Susan Chin

Celebrating Survivorship

"It was many years ago that I walked in my first Gibbons Run/Walk and I remember how excited I was to participate as a survivor. I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) that developed from polycythemia vera, another blood disease that I had for about five years.

It was inspiring to be with other survivors and I was touched to see so many people supporting the Leukemia Research Foundation’s mission. Being there brought tears to my eyes. It was a huge triumph for me since I had to learn how to walk again because the chemo for AML had made me very sick. I was hospitalized for four months, on a ventilator for about two months and almost died. Miraculously, I survived. My only chance for a cure was a bone marrow transplant which I had in 1999.

When I was diagnosed, I was lucky enough to meet an advocate from the Leukemia Research Foundation, who helped me tremendously along the way. She gave me lots of encouragement and support before, during and after my treatment and let me know that I was not alone. From her, I learned about the Patient Financial Assistance program which helped cover some of my expenses that were not covered by insurance. At that time I was self-employed which meant I paid for my own expensive health insurance plus I had a lot of medical bills and was not able to work full time for a long time.

I’m very grateful for all of the invaluable support that the Leukemia Research Foundation has given me throughout my journey. And I’m hoping my story inspires everyone to not give up hope. Thank you Leukemia Research Foundation!"


June 13
Jim Gibbons Memorial Chapter
25th Annual
ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk

August 2 - 4
Kingfish Shootout
Carrabelle, Florida

August 9
Joey's Angels Chapter
18th Angels in the Fairway

Blood Cancer Awareness Month

September 22
73rd Annual Medical Awards Luncheon

September 28
Affiliate Board of the
Leukemia Research Foundation
Punching Out Blood Cancers

Leukemia Research Foundation

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