How your gifts are helping to advance exciting cancer research

Brent Morris, Board President of Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, presented the check for $2.2 million to  James Weese, MD, Vice President of Aurora Cancer Care.

James Weese, MD, Vice President of Aurora Cancer Care, left, accepting the $2.2 million check from Brent Morris, Board President of Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.

Vince Lombardi Cander Foundation logoIn May, Aurora Research Institute awarded $100,000 to four Aurora Health Care investigators to conduct exciting new cancer-related research projects. Funds for the program are available, thanks to a generous gift from Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation. A check for $2.2 million was presented to Aurora Cancer Care at the Foundation’s annual meeting on May 29.

“Research has become a priority at Aurora, especially with Aurora Research Institute being the recipient of several large, nationally competitive research grants. We know that many of tomorrow’s breakthroughs in cancer prevention and treatment are waiting to be discovered right here in our research facilities,” says Randall Lambrecht, PhD, President of Aurora Research Institute.

Aurora Cancer Care logoThe Aurora Cancer Care Research Award program provides $25,000 per award to caregivers conducting advanced research meant to improve patient outcomes and eradicate cancer through detection, treatment, education and prevention.

Congratulations to the following physicians:

  •  Sanjay Kansra, PhD, received an award to compare the cellular signaling networks of high-risk premalignant breast lesions and subsequent breast lesions from the same women. This study may provide information on the genetic changes that drive the early stages of breast cancer.
  • Cheruppolil R. Santhosh-Kumar, MD, received an award to assess the impact outpatient family conferences have on communication among caregivers, patients with advanced cancer and their loved ones. The purpose of his study is to reduce suffering for patients with advanced cancer and offer a model for other institutions.
  • Kourosh Ravvaz, MD, PhD, received an award to improve prediction models for bladder cancer progression and recurrence with the latest clinical findings. The results may help improve accuracy in predicting cancer outcomes, increase shared patient decision-making and possibly lead to smarter and more cost-effective bladder cancer screening practices.
  • Richard Rovin, MD, received an award to determine the best way to isolate cancer stem cells from metastatic brain tumors. The purpose of his research is to find a way to study why tumors spread to the brain, allowing pathways to prevention and new treatment options.

The program also supports researchers in need of continued funding to complete their existing cancer research projects. Another $100,000 in grants will be awarded later this year.

A Scientific Review Committee consisting of researchers and clinicians scientifically evaluates award proposals based on overall impact of the proposed study; its significance, innovation and approach; and the investigators involved in the research. In addition to the Aurora Cancer Care Research Award, Aurora Research Institute offers three other intramural opportunities – the Cardiac Research Award, the Sullivan Cardiac Research Award for Residents and Fellows, and the Cardiovascular Surgery Research Award.

Finding a cure is important, and so is having treatment options. This promising research is only possible, thanks to gifts to Aurora Health Care Foundation and the generosity of donors in our community. To learn more about this or other Aurora Cancer Care programs, contact Bridgette Frommell, Foundation Development Officer at, or give online at

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