Monday, October 3, 2011

Loyola Receives Grant for Pediatric Leukemia Research

Patients, families on hand to accept grant from Hope on Wheels Program

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) today received a $100,000 grant to support research to treat an aggressive form of pediatric leukemia. The grant, which was funded by Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels program, was presented to Loyola during a special ceremony with cancer patients and their parents at Loyola University Medical Center.

“I would like to express our appreciation for all that the Hope on Wheels program is doing in the fight against childhood cancer,” said Jerold Sterling, MD, FAAP, chair and professor, Department of Pediatrics, SSOM. “This organization has shown the vision and determination to make a real difference in the ability to care for children with cancer across the country and throughout the world.”

Studies that will be funded by this grant are under way at Loyola. These studies will evaluate a new class of drugs designed to treat this form of childhood leukemia. They will be led by Charles Hemenway, MD, Ronald McDonald House Charities endowed professor in Pediatric Oncology and division director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

“This research has already shown promise,” said Patrick Stiff, MD, SSOM Coleman professor of Oncology and director, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, who accepted the check on Loyola’s behalf. “We are happy and honored to be a recipient of this grant and so grateful to be a part of studies that give us hope.”

Mary Connolly, the mother of a child who was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year, was in attendance to share her story. Her son Simon is undergoing his fourth of six chemotherapy treatments at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center.

“As my son Simon and our family live through this experience, I know the value of what cancer research can do and the difference this donation will make for future patients and their families,” Connolly said. “This funding will help provide groundbreaking, life-saving research that can change the lives of cancer patients and their families.”

Leukemia is the most common malignancy in children. Over the last 50 years, advances have been made to understand and treat the disease, allowing many children with leukemia to be cured. The evolution of the treatment for this disease is one of the greatest success stories in cancer research. However, leukemia remains incurable in many children and others are burdened by the side effects of treatment. 

“This is a time when we focus on raising awareness about the fight against childhood cancer, while celebrating the lives of the brave children battling this disease,” said Brian O’Malley, regional general manager, Hyundai USA.
Hope on Wheels is the united effort of Hyundai Motor America and its dealers across the U.S. to help kids fight cancer. The organization will give grants to doctors and researchers through the end of September as part of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.