Microscope | February 2018

image of Jiwang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

Jiwang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

LRF-funded Researcher Earns $2.4 Million to Advance Career

Jiwang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director, Stem Cell Program (Oncology Institute) at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., earned a $100,000 grant from the Leukemia Research Foundation (LRF) in 2008 for a project titled The Role of C-MYC in the Pathogenesis of Leukemia Initiation, Progression and Relapse. A description of that project can be found here.

Since that time Dr. Zhang has earned more than $2.4 million in research funding from numerous sources including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). One of the objectives of the LRF’s Hollis Brownstein Research Grants Program is to advance the research of New Investigators and, as a result, help them to earn continued support in larger amounts from other funders.

“The LRF is proud to enable innovative scientists to act on their ideas that will lead to significant breakthroughs,” said LRF Executive Director Kevin Radelet. “Dr. Zhang’s progress and success is impressive and we are honored to have helped advance his career at the early stages.”



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New Investigator Research Funding Phase Two

The second phase of the LRF’s Hollis Brownstein Research Grants Program has begun. Letters of Intent that were submitted by the deadline (February 1, 2018) are currently being assessed to determine those to be invited to submit a full research proposal. Those invited will be notified on February 20, 2018 and full applications will be due by March 20, 2018.


image of Justin Kline, M.D.

Justin Kline, M.D. 

Save the Date - 2nd Annual Road to a Cure

“Road to a Cure” - The Latest Developments in Blood Cancer Research will be held on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Cancer Wellness Center, 215 Revere Drive in Northbrook, Ill.

The featured speaker is Justin Kline, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kline is a hematologist/oncologist specializing in leukemia and lymphoma. His clinical interests include allogeneic stem cell transplantation (bone marrow or blood stem cells transplanted from a donor) in the treatment of these malignant diseases.

Dr. Kline's laboratory research focuses on overcoming barriers to immune resistance mechanisms in tumors. He develops models in mice to improve immune-mediated rejection of cancer that can be translated into clinical trials for patients with advanced malignancies. His research was supported by the LRF during the 2010/2011 funding cycle.

Admission to the program is free and refreshments will be served. Online registration will be available soon at www.allbloodcancers.org/road-to-a-cure. Or to register in advance, call the LRF at 847.424.0600. This program made possible in part by the David Wortman Memorial Fund.

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Save the Date - Treatment Options
for Blood Cancer Patients Conference

The Treatment Options for Blood Cancer Patients Conference is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Lisle, 1400 Corporetum Drive in Lisle, Ill. The program features numerous informational sessions on specific blood cancer topics and a luncheon panel discussion.

The result of collaborative efforts between the LRF, National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center, the conference is specifically designed to provide background on the various types of treatments, including transplants that are available as viable forms of treatment for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Admission to the program is free. The agenda and online registration will be available soon at www.allbloodcancers.org/treatment-options-conference or call the LRF at 847.424.0600.

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Information Shared at Town Hall Meeting About Blood Cancers

Nearly 150 patients, survivors and loved ones attended the Annual Town Hall Meeting in January to ask questions about treatments, medications, side effects, clinical trials and more.

A panel of hematologists/oncologists volunteered their time to answer patient questions. The program was moderated by LRF Executive Director Kevin Radelet. Thank you to panel participants (above L to R) Marlon Kleinman M.D. from Hematology/Oncology of the North Shore / North Shore Cancer Research Association; Parameswaran Venugopal, M.D., Rush University Medical Center; Irum Khan, M.D., University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System; Tulio Rodriguez M.D., Advocate Health Care; Satyajit Kosuri, M.D., University of Chicago Medical Center; Shira N. Dinner, M.D., Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University; and Patrick Stiff, M.D. from the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center.

image of Kids' Party, Jesse White Tumblers

Kids’ Party a Huge Success

More than 75 pediatric leukemia and lymphoma patients between the ages of three and 16 and their families enjoyed a special day hosted by the LRF. The Annual Kids’ Party and Resource Fair activities included the Jesse White Tumblers, a buffet lunch, dancing and games with a DJ, and guests took home bountiful goody bags from the event, which was held in January.

“Kids’ Party is an opportunity for children to put aside treatments, hospital stays and side effects and feel like a kid again,” said Linda Kabot, LRF Director of Programs. “The LRF invites all families, free of charge, to participate in this wonderful event. For some parents, this was the first time in months that they saw their child having fun.”

Check out video from the event on LRF's YouTube channel.

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Inspire the future.
Include a Legacy Gift to the LRF in Your Estate Plans.

Planned giving can help you provide for your family while ensuring that the LRF continues to flourish. There are many ways to leave a legacy. A bequest that includes the LRF as a beneficiary of your will, trust or codicil allows you to retain your assets and benefit from tax advantages. Contributing an insurance policy or naming the LRF as a beneficiary can provide you substantial tax benefits. Your attorney or financial advisor can work with you to include the LRF in your estate plans.

With your planned gift to the LRF, you become a member of the Legacy of Hope which is composed of generous and forward-thinking donors. Your support of the LRF mission will be long remembered and serve as an inspiration to others. For more information on planned giving, please click here.

Image of Gibbons 3K walker

24th Annual ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk

Do not let the cool temperatures fool you. The time is now to register for the 24th Annual ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk. The event is set for Thursday evening, June 21, 2018. The site will open at 4:30 p.m. and the race start will be broadcast live on ABC 7 Chicago at 6:25 p.m.

The only thing better than a refreshing run or walk on a warm summer evening to fight all blood cancers is to do so with others. Consider recruiting coworkers, family and friends and form a team this year! Get in while the price is good! Adult registration for the 5K run or 3K walk is $35, children 12 and under register for $20. Prices will increase March 1.

More information and online registration is available at www.Gibbons5K.com.

 Parent Spotlight

image of Pattison family

(L to R) Gabriela, Matthew and Jojo Pattison 

A Beautiful Choice

Matthew Pattison was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2011. He went through more than three years of treatment and is in remission now. Matthew’s journey inspired his mother Gabriela to write a book with the hopes of helping other parents guide their children through a life-threatening illness and still achieve connection with the child.

“I knew something was wrong when one evening I felt my son’s heart and it was beating a mile a minute. I had a pediatrician appointment set up for the next day and when I got to the doctor, he told me to immediately go to the emergency room. After a battery of tests I asked the doctor what was wrong and she told me the diagnosis might be leukemia. After the initial shock the doctor spoke to me directly and said that if the diagnosis is in fact leukemia that the treatment would be manageable and that if my son had to have an illness that this was it. That was the moment in this journey when I realized that I would always have a choice – perhaps not of the circumstances but how I chose to respond to them. My choice at that time was to make the best of this circumstance and do everything in my power to see my child through the journey, wherever it may go.

The choices continued from the emergency room to the hospital room where my son would stay for a few weeks. I made sure that my son saw the positives of the moment; riding the gurney to the room, with his sister hopping on for the ride, the bright, pretty hospital room with a TV and so on. Every step of the way there are moments of choice and I can use them to guide my son to where we wanted to be, rather than focus on what we feared.

After more than a year of listening, watching and looking for moments when I could help my son find the positives in his journey, I decided to share what I had learned with other parents whose children were also on their own journey through cancer treatment. One of my pieces of advice was to be in the moment. Don’t worry about an hour from now, a day from now or even two minutes from now. Just find joy in the moment. Sharing my perspective and keeping a journal led me to creating a class to support other parents in a support group, and finally to writing a book to share with others. I wanted to create more of a workbook than a textbook because every person’s journey is their own. I want people to have a guide for navigating the journey that they can use and adapt to their own circumstances.

My book is called A Beautiful Choice. Its purpose is to show people how to guide your child through a life-threatening illness and succeed and unite with your child. There are three goals that I hope readers will achieve through this book.

  1. Know that your ability to speak without saying anything is truly remarkable.
  2. Let your child and their challenge lead you to unconditional love.
  3. Learn to recognize truth in the midst of fear; it will guide you to extraordinary life.

I hope that people will used the book as a guide. It’s not meant to be read from cover to cover. I intend for parents to open the book and find some guidance that fits where they are in that moment, to help find the extraordinary moments in everyday life and to have an answer to the question, what is the right choice for me and my family right now."

The book is available in softcover, hardcover and ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ABeautifulChoice-Pattison.com and more.



February 10
Joey's Angels Chapter
Joey's Angels Ski Days


February 10
Alden of Waterford
Sweet Treat Fundraiser


March 3
Joey's Angels Chapter
Joey's Angels Ski Days


May 2, 2018
2nd Annual Road to a Cure

May 19, 2018
Treatment Options for
Blood Cancer Patients Conference

May 19, 2018
Phillip "Poppie" Gaston Chapter
The Best of Music Benefit Concert

June 21, 2018
ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk

August 3-5, 2018
Kingfish Shootout
Carrabelle, Florida

August 10, 2018
Joey's Angels Chapter
17th Angels in the Fairway Golf Outing


Visit our website to view more upcoming events.

We will continue to keep you apprised of our noteworthy achievements.
Please visit us on social media for regular updates.

Thank you again for your incredible support. You make our work possible.
Stand for life. Fight for life. Give for life. #LRF4LIFE.


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