JWS Fund Supports Two Research Projects and Cancer Survivorship Program


The Julie W. Schaffner Ovarian Cancer Fund recently contributed funds to two cutting-edge research studies (both located in the Chicago metropolitan area) that are looking into new ways to fight ovarian cancer. The JWS Fund also made a significant contribution to the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Cancer Survivorship Center.

Research Project — Fighting Resistant Tumors
A joint research project between Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (Park Ridge, IL) and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (North Chicago, IL), is looking into ways to treat platinum-resistant tumors (they are resistant to chemotherapy) which, in turn may help produce better clinical outcomes in the treatment of ovarian cancer. The research team recently submitted their first paper on their findings to Cancer Research, the most highly-cited cancer journals in the world.

Research Project — The Origin of Tumors
The second research project funded by the JWS Fund is being conducted at the University of Illinois-Chicago by Joanna Burdette, Ph. D., an American Cancer Society-funded researcher, who is looking into the possibility that ovarian tumors may also originate from the fallopian tubes, as opposed to just the ovaries. Dr. Burdette and her team are testing the concept by looking at the effects on genes regulated by hormones in epithelial cells from both the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Cancer Survivorship Center
The JWS fund also provided funds that will help support the Cancer Survivorship Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. The Center offers classes and programs designed to focus on the physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of cancer patients, family members and caregivers. Programs available at the Center are designed to help patients achieve a healthier lifestyle, empower and aid them in navigating through the healthcare system and strengthen the patient and healthcare provider relationship.

Among the programs and services available at the Center are nutrition seminars for optimal cancer wellness, a wide variety of exercise classes, a look good/feel better program, a wig boutique, a prosthesis boutique, cancer networking groups and art therapy.

According to Mary Hurd, MHA, RN, BSN and manager of the Survivorship program, funds contributed by the JWS Fund will be used to hire a part-time social worker to work directly with patients, something the Center was not able to budget for in the past. In a letter to Tom Schaffner, founder of the JWS Fund, Hurd wrote: “I want to express our sincere appreciation for the generous donation to our cancer program. It is our sincere commitment to spend your funds in the spirit and belief of paying it forward.”

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