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Annual Minds Matter Benefit Supports Malnati Brain Tumor Institute

On May 17, 2019, 350 friends and supporters gathered for the annual Minds Matter Benefit Dinner to raise funds for the Northwestern Medicine Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. This year’s fundraiser at Chicago’s urban-chic Revel Fulton Market, raised more than half a million dollars to support the institute and patients affected by brain and spinal tumors.

The event was also a celebration of all that the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute team has accomplished in its eleventh year.

“Through the philanthropic support from our donors, we have made remarkable strides to better serve our patients and their families,” said James P. Chandler, MD, co-director of the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute, surgical director of Neuro-Oncology at Northwestern Memorial, and the vice chair for clinical affairs and Lavin/Fates professor of Neurological Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Earlier this year, we were able to open a new, state-of-the-art clinic to provide better continuity of care from diagnosis to follow-up appointments, and with contributions we look forward to taking the institute to the next level."

“We have one of the foremost leading brain tumor institutes in the country to help bring the highest level of cancer care to our patients,” added Roger Stupp, MD, co-director of the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute, chief of Neuro-oncology in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences, and the Paul C. Bucy Professor of Neurological Surgery. “Every bit of support makes an impact to one day cure this disease.”

‘The best promise of preventing, detecting, diagnosing, and treating human cancers’

This year’s benefit, with the theme “Darkness to Light,” was hosted by iconic Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson and co-chaired by Andrea Cohen and Tom McCarthy. Both chairs have been personally affected by brain cancer—Cohen lost her husband to glioblastoma in November of 2013, and McCarthy lost his father to glioblastoma in 2007.

The event honored those patients who have battled brain tumors and shared hope that new scientific discoveries will change the outlook for future patients. In that vein, C. David James, PhD, scientific director of the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute, highlighted a prestigious Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant in brain cancer that Northwestern investigators were awarded from the National Cancer Institute in late 2018.

“These highly competitive grants fund innovative projects with the best promise of preventing, detecting, diagnosing, and treating human cancers,” said Dr. James, who also is the Jean Malnati Miller Professor of Brain Tumor Research. “And right now, Northwestern is one of only four institutions currently receiving support in this area of study. This distinction speaks to the strength of the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute’s team of experts and the incredible scientific and clinical expertise that we bring to our patients locally and globally. We are a world-class institute because our whole effort is greater than the sum of our parts.”

Make a gift to support the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute.

For more information about supporting brain tumor research or clinical care, please contact Elizabeth Gordon at or (312) 503-0759.