Sarcoma Foundation of America Supports Sarcoma Research and Care at Lurie Cancer Center

From left to right: SFA volunteer Mr. Doug Leipprandt; SFA volunteer Ms. Heidi Kipfer Cali; Dr. Agulnik; Dr. Wayne; and Dr. Platanias.

On Tuesday, May 2, representatives from the Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA) visited the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University to present a check for $33,000, representing the proceeds from the group’s 2016 Race to Cure Sarcoma. This generous gift will support sarcoma investigations and care being conducted by Mark Agulnik, MD, associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and director of the Clinical Trials Office at the Lurie Cancer Center, and his colleagues.

“We were very pleased with the success of the 2016 Race to Cure Sarcoma,” said Bert E. Thomas IV, PhD, MBA, chief executive officer of the SFA. “We are thrilled to be supporting the great work being done at the Lurie Cancer Center in the area of sarcoma.”

Soft tissue sarcomas are a group of cancers that develop in the tissues that support and connect the body. These sarcomas can occur almost anywhere in the body. When a soft tissue sarcoma is small, it can go unnoticed or is ignored since it does not usually cause problems at this stage. As a soft tissue sarcoma grows, it can interfere with a person’s normal bodily functions.

The SFA’s mission is to advocate for sarcoma patients by funding research and by increasing awareness about the disease. The organization raises money to privately fund grants for sarcoma investigators and conducts education and advocacy efforts on behalf of sarcoma patients.

“At the Lurie Cancer Center, we have a long tradition of clinical trials and superb patient care within our excellent sarcoma program,” said Leonidas C. Platanias, MD, PhD, director of the Lurie Cancer Center and the Jesse, Sara, Andrew, Abigail, Benjamin, and Elizabeth Lurie Professor of Oncology. “We are invested in science and its translation through innovative work. We are deeply grateful to the Sarcoma Foundation of America for its support of this important area.”

Click here to learn more about the Sarcoma Foundation of America.

Lurie Cancer Center: An Innovator in Sarcoma Investigations and Care

“For over 10 years, we’ve focused on delivering comprehensive care for sarcoma patients through our robust clinical program of specialists,” said Dr. Agulnik. “We also conduct collaborative clinical trials with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and other national organizations to bring our research from the bench to the bedside as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“We keep a robust research portfolio so that there is something for every patient,” continued Dr. Agulnik. “This is particularly important since many types of sarcoma are quite rare.”

Jeffrey D. Wayne, MD, chief of Surgical Oncology, professor of both Surgery and Dermatology, and associate director for Clinical Affairs at the Lurie Cancer Center, works closely with Dr. Agulnik in the treatment of sarcomas.

“What differentiates our group is its multidisciplinary nature—we draw input from many people across specialties at Northwestern,” said Dr. Wayne. He went on to speak about an internal sarcoma conference that meets every other week to discuss cases. “The collaboration happens here at Northwestern in real time.”

Dr. Wayne continued, “Our familiarity with this disease cannot be replicated—we know when to be aggressive and when not.”

Northwestern also pioneered the Sarcoma Patient Education Conference, a free seminar featuring experts from the Lurie Cancer Center and updates in sarcoma research, treatments, and resources available to both patients and caregivers. The next conference will take place on Tuesday, October 25.

Click here to learn more about the Sarcoma Patient Education Conference.

To learn more about supporting research and patient care in the area of sarcomas, please contact Elizabeth Gordon at 312-503-0759 or

“What differentiates our group is its multidisciplinary nature—we draw input from many people across specialties at Northwestern. The collaboration happens here at Northwestern in real time.”

- Jeffrey D. Wayne, MD