HCRF separates itself from other cancer foundations in that we selectively focus on investing in "think outside the box" foundational research.

This is a critical first step to developing new and innovative treatments with huge potential for remarkable advances in cancer care. Funds raised by HCRF will accelerate cutting-edge translational research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

The Lurie cancer team consists of an elite group of scientists and clinicians and HCRF support has helped them make important strides towards conquering cancer. Together, they are at the forefront of precision medicine and with our help they will achieve breakthroughs and eliminate cancer as a cause of death.

Research Goals


Dr. Platanias and his exceptional team have already made promising advances in all areas of cancer research, however, the fight is far from over. We need to EXPAND our capabilities and INTENSIFY our efforts to DEFEAT cancer. The Lurie cancer team is committed to doing work that will facilitate the translation of CANCER DISCOVERIES into LIFE-SAVING THERAPIES and develop personalized cancer treatments for each patient. HCRF will play a pivotal role in supporting the Lurie cancer team to achieve the following pillars of cancer treatment:


Expand the program to develop new therapies that can harness the body's own immune system to fight cancer and provide a personalized approach to treat cancer patients.

Tumor Cell Biology & Genomics

  • Unravel biochemical, molecular and cellular signaling pathways that determine how they promote tumor development and metastasis
  • Decode genetic mutations to better predict a patient's tumor behavior and response to therapy, as well as develop new targeted drugs that can be optimized for each patient's specific cancer
  • Continue building the cancer epigenomics and cancer metabolomics team so that unique cancer signatures can be determined and powerful tools can be developed, advancing biomarker discovery, diagnostic testing and precision medicine

Stem Cells in Cancer

Develop innovative ways to identify and target cancer stem cells without damaging healthy tissue and ultimately destroying the source of all new cancer cells

Clinical Trials & Drug Development

  • Develop new promising clinical trials by bridging basic and clinical cancer science to improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention
  • Implement a multidisciplinary approach focusing on tumor progression, tumor metastasis, tumor microenvironment, mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance, and epigenetic characteristics directing tumor behavior
  • Test new pharmacological molecules and new therapies for patients with: brain tumors, leukemia other blood cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and malignant melanoma