New foundation supports ground-breaking research at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University in Chicago.
We’ve all been touched by cancer. Perhaps you read this as a survivor, or the relative or friend of someone who has battled this horrible disease. Studies reveal that nearly half of all men and one-third of all women will develop cancer in their lifetime. It’s inevitable — cancer will affect all of us at some point in our lives, whether as a patient, or the cheerleader of someone in the fight. Exciting research is in progress — but these things take time. By the time trials take place, and enough funding is secured to get drugs approved, more people suffer, and ultimately die. That’s about to change, thanks to the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation.
A fateful meeting, a life saved
Eleni Bousis’ mother was diagnosed with the Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), in 2000. Her mom spent three months in the hospital in ICU. After two failed attempts at chemotherapy, the family prepared for the worst.
Eleni recalled those days in the hospital.
“Nothing was working. We were watching her slip away. Dr. Platanias, along with Dr. Rosen and Dr. Talman, came into my mother’s room. They told us they had a drug that could save her, but it had no name, just a number. It was a new treatment he was developing at the time. They asked if we wanted to try it. It was our last hope, so we went ahead. I saw first-hand what research can do. It saved my mother’s life, and 16 years later we are blessed to still have her with us.”
A well-known philanthropist, Eleni began to ponder the possibilities of such research, and how many others could be cured and saved. It all began to come together when Dr. Leonidas Platanias became director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, in 2014. The two met to discuss how they could work together to advance Dr. Platanias’ research.
Dr. Platanias explained why support is needed.
“Obtaining federal funding is a challenge in the early stages, especially when there are no studies to back up the research. Unrestricted support would help us create highly innovative treatments without restriction. Good outcomes would help us to secure that federal funding. Support would help us get new treatment to patients more quickly.”
Eleni led the charge, and along with the support of many dedicated individuals, established the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation in 2015. It was created to support Dr. Platanias’ breakthrough research. The mission of the Hipprocratic Cancer Research Foundation is:
“to discover, develop and implement effective new treatments for patients with cancer by advancing groundbreaking research. The goal – to eliminate cancer and save lives – is ambitious but achievable.”
The foundation was named for the founding father of medicine, Hippocrates, whose oath set high standards for the practice of medicine. The members have culled inspiration from the wise, compassionate, and caring ancient Greek physician.
As chair of the founding board, Eleni has rallied some of Chicago’s most influential physicians and businesspeople in the effort. And that support is growing by the day.
“We’ve all been touched by cancer, and we want to see it eradicated. We will do whatever possible as a collective group to support changing the world of cancer. ”
Dr. Platanias cited Eleni’s vision and determination to launch the foundation.
“Eleni has spearheaded the effort, along with a compassionate group of individuals that share her vision and passion, so we may focus on creating more success stories, to help us to truly make a difference in cancer research and treatment, and save lives.”
Dr. Platanias discussed advances in research.
“We’re looking at treatments for all cancers. We’re trying to understand the fundamental mechanisms that lead to cancer, and how we can change that. We’re also looking at individualized treatments, because we know that everyone is different and responds differently to treatment. When we understand a person’s genetic makeup, we can better treat their cancer. With this advanced understanding about cancer and genetics, we can successfully treat it, and ultimately prevent it.”
This type of research has come to be known as translational research, which simply means, “bench-to-bedside research.” This involves close collaboration between scientists and physicians, within the patient care setting. Together, they can translate the latest research into new approaches at treatment. These insights can help create further treatments, aid in early detection, and development of new approaches to prevent cancer. The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center is at the forefront of such approaches, which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has deemed a priority in cancer care.
The Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation‘s work will therefore support a patient experience, based on Dr. Platanias’ research, with treatment, care, and collaboration all in the same place, and under his supervision.
Cancer Survivors Walk/5k
One way to support the important work of the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation is to participate in the 23rd annual Cancer Survivor’s Celebration Walk/5k on June 5. There’s still time to join Team HCRF and/or sponsor a participant, to help raise awareness and funds. The walk begins at 9:00 am in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
Mark your calendar for November 5 for the Kick-Off Gala, to take place at the Hilton Chicago. More information will be announced soon.
How you can help
Supporting the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation means supporting highly innovative treatments based on “out of the box research”, without any restrictions. Dr. Platanias explained what this support can mean.
“With $1 million, we can invent 4-5 new drugs. This support will help us to have a huge impct on the future of cancer treatment.”
Eleni summed it up best:
“If we can go to the moon but we can’t cure cancer, we have a serious problem. Let’s move mountains and make this happen. Let’s make it happen for you, for me, and all of us. Together we can save lives — our own, and the people we love.”