Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer

by Lynn Sage Foundation
Dr. Vassilopoulos
Dr. Vassilopoulos' Lab

Dear Friends, 

This time of year finds many of us reflecting on the past year and looking hopefully towards the next.  While The Lynn Sage Foundation is anxious to start 2017 with multiple Lynn Sage Scholars for the first time, it is never easy to part with the current Scholar.  It has been an honor to support Dr. Athan Vassilopoulos these past two years, and we look forward to Dr. Vassilopoulos staying involved with The Lynn Sage Foundation in an advisory role.

Dr. Vassilopoulos’ lab is focused on explaining the role of sirtuins, which is a gene family implicated in age-related diseases, such as breast cancer.  They have been actively exploring two particular members of the sirtuin family, SIRT2 and SIRT3, in both normal mammary stem cells and breast cancer stem cells. Their results in this area provide solid evidence to support a novel role of sirtuins in breast tumor initiation and potential therapeutic applications.  Additionally, they were also able to initiate and complete the first phase of a chemical library screen to identify new compounds aimed at targeting a subgroup of breast tumors characterized by low expression of sirtuins.

While Dr. Vassilopoulos will enjoy watching his two young children discover what Santa delivers this holiday season, he is most hopeful for continued funding for his lab.  “Early research funding is extremely important as it gives the opportunity, especially to junior faculty, to explore and develop their innovative ideas,” comments Dr. Vassilopoulos.  “Without doubt, the generous support from The Lynn Sage Foundation in my lab gave us a great opportunity to move our ideas forward. It was really inspiring in the past two years to experience first-hand how committed the Lynn Sage Foundation community is to supporting innovative breast cancer research.” 

Given the encouraging findings from their research and initial screen, Dr. Vassilopoulos hopes to continue his breast cancer work with the sirtuin family.  He is planning to initiate a project focused on cancer prevention. Based on previous results showing the beneficial effect of nutritional interventions, such as calorie restriction, on slowing down age-related diseases, Dr. Vassilopoulos and his lab will explore the mechanistic role of sirtuins in mediating this effect on breast cancer.

You can learn more about Dr. Vassilouspoulos' research here.  We are so grateful for his dedication to finding a cure and wish him all the best as he continues his research.

We're also incredibly grateful for your support.  Without you, the Lynn Sage Scholars program wouldn't have funded Dr. Vassilospoulos, nor expand in 2017.  Please consider The Lynn Sage Foundation if you plan to make end-of-year donations. Together, we will change the trajectory of breast cancer.

Wishing you all the best in the new year!

Laura & Halee Sage


Dr. Mendillo
Dr. Mendillo

Dear Friends, 

Today, this update is sent with so much gratitude in our hearts. The Lynn Sage Foundation has reached a major milestone because of your generosity and support. We are thrilled to announce that The Foundation will sponsor two Lynn Sage Scholars and expand its funding to Rush University Medical Center in 2017!

Congratulations to Dr. Marc L. Mendillo, PhD at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Dr. Abde Abukhdeir, PhD of Rush University Medical Center!  We are excited to welcome such talented doctors into the Lynn Sage Scholars program. Please see below for more details about their exciting research.

As a reminder, the Lynn Sage Scholars program funds $100,000 core scholarships annually to chosen candidates in the field of breast cancer for a maximum of two years.  In 2017, we will simultaneously fund two Scholars for the first time, by continuing our partnership with the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and embarking on a new relationship with Rush University Medical Center.

Please know what a difference you're making in the quest to end breast cancer.  Thank you so much for your continued support!

Warm Regards, 

Laura & Halee 


Dr. Mendillo’s Research Program

The cellular stress response network promotes tumor progression, metastasis and drug resistance. At Northwestern, Dr. Mendillo is driven to study and define the operating principles of this network and reveal vulnerabilities that can be exploited for new approaches to diagnose and treat breast cancer. Dr. Mendillo is committed to ultimately bring forth breakthroughs that will propel the next generation of treatments and approaches against cancer.

Dr. Mendillo is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. He joined Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 2015. Dr. Mendillo received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego and subsequently completed fellowships at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Whitehead Institute at MIT prior to arriving at the Lurie Cancer Center.


Dr. Abukhdeir’s Research Program

Dr. Abukhdeir’s research group investigates molecular variants that lead to or contribute to drug resistance in breast cancer. These molecular variants have the potential to serve as predictive biomarkers or novel targets for therapies. His group has identified a group of genes whose expression can predict which patients will respond to trastuzumab therapy. More recently, they have repurposed drugs that block key growth signaling pathways for use in breast cancer.

 Dr. Abukhdeir is currently an assistant professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Rush University Medical Center. He completed his Ph.D. at Loyola University. He then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, where he identified mechanisms of tamoxifen resistance and published several papers in high-profile journals, including Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences and Blood. Later, he transitioned into a junior faculty member, where Dr. Abukhdeir collaborated with the Stand Up to Cancer Epigenetic Dream Team to identify molecular predictors of response to epigenetic therapies. In 2012, Dr. Abukhdeir moved to Rush University to begin an independent faculty appointment.


Dr. Abukhdeir
Dr. Abukhdeir
Summer Toast
Summer Toast

Dear Lynn Sage Supporters,

We hope you’ve enjoyed a relaxing summer!

On June 23rd, The Lynn Sage Foundation Associate Board kicked ours off with a sizzle at the 4th annual Summer Toast at Rockit Bar and Grill. The spirited crowd of over 275 young professionals raised over $27,000 for local breast cancer researchers, all while having a fabulous time!  We are immensely grateful to our corporate sponsors; Domu, Eldorado, Goldberg Kohn, LaSalle Network, Mesirow Financial, Redwood Logistics, Rockit Bar & Grill, SiteX Group, and Wintrust Bank.

If you spent summer on the running trail, Team Lynn Sage is actively training for Chicago’s Half Marathon & 5k on Sunday, September 25th. In addition to taking long weekend runs, our team of 25 runners has been furiously fundraising for a cure. We always welcome more friends on the trail and team. Please visit our events page for more information.

As we look ahead to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we begin salivating for the 9th annual Chicago’s In Good Taste. Dine out at one of our 150 Chicagoland restaurant partners during October and support breast cancer research while enjoying a delicious drink or dessert! A full list of partners can be found here.

Most importantly, we are busy recruiting even more talented scientists for The Lynn Sage Scholars Program in 2017. By supporting gifted and committed physicians at key points in their research careers, the Lynn Sage Foundation is helping to position these professionals for a lifetime of work in the field of breast cancer research.

Thank you for your generous support in the fight to end breast cancer!  We look forward to further updating you this fall!

Warm Regards,

Laura & Halee Sage


Happy Spring! We are excited to announce some new developments at The Lynn Sage Foundation - starting with the addition of two new wonderful staff members. Nicole Cardamone has joined us as Business Development & Marketing Coordinator. Nicole has an infectiously positive, can-do attitude that can be found in everything she touches. In the role of Operations Coordinator, Fara Lazzara brings to the table her 30+ years of experience as the former VP of Operations at Today’s Chicago Women magazine. We are looking forward to the future of the Foundation with such an amazing team in place!

Also new at The Foundation, we are excited to announce that we are gathering resources behind Team Lynn Sage, a new endurance sports community. Team Lynn Sage members will be participating in the Chicago Half Marathon on September 25th 2016 and reaching out directly to their networks to support them and breast cancer researchers. Our team is growing by the day and we are so excited to see a new community forming around our cause. If you, or someone you know wants to join the Team you can check out all the information on our events page.

Everyone is still talking Dr. Vassilopoulos' about lab tour! The tour was so impactful because it brought what is usually un-seen research into the spotlight. Dr. Vassilopoulos continues to focus on the study of the genetic and biochemical connection between sirtuin genes and carcinogenesis as well as tumor cell resistance. As we all know, breast cancer research is a long and winding road but we are so proud to support Dr. V along it.

Mother’s Day is always a special time for us. We started The Lynn Sage Foundation to honor our mother, so it is only fitting that we find a simple way to help you honor your own mother on this special day. For the last fiveyears, we have invited supporters to send thoughtful e-cards to their own mothers (and grandmothers, and friends!) while raising funds for breast cancer research through our Cards for a Cure campaign. This year the campaign raised over $11,000. Even though Mother’s Day has passed, you can still send a thoughtful card for a birthday, to say thank you, or just because you are thinking about someone special in your life.

We hope you have a wonderful start to your summer!

Warm Regards,

Laura & Halee


Dear Lynn Sage Supporters,

As we get settled into 2016, we’re quickly filling our calendar with many events and campaigns that will help us raise much needed funds for breast cancer research. Our mission is simple: we exist to end breast cancer, and we believe we will get there fastest by funding researchers directly – and we can only do that with your help.

We are currently funding our fifth Lynn Sage Scholar, Dr. Athanassios Vassilopoulos. One of the best things about the research we fund is that its taking place right down the street from our office, and our supporters can meet our scholar personally. Each time we name a new scholar, we host a reception and tour of the research lab. A few photos from the tour of Dr. Vassilopoulos’ lab are included!

Dr. Vassilopoulos’ research focuses on the study of the genetic and biochemical connection between sirtuin genes and carcinogenesis as well as tumor cell resistance. Dr. Vassilopoulos is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. To read more about Dr. Vassilopoulos’ research, click here.

Our 2013/2014 Lynn Sage Scholar, Dr. Sarika Jain, has been working to develop new cancer therapies by targeting an enzyme called "Mnk" in triple negative breast cancer cells. Her team is using drugs that block the enzyme and have found that at high concentrations of the drug they can block growth. Further studies will define if this approach can eventually be appropriate for clinical trials.

Please remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay up to date on our events and ways you can get involved.

Thank you for your generous support in the fight against breast cancer. Together we can find a cure.

Warm regards,

Laura & Halee Sage



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Organization Information

Lynn Sage Foundation

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Laura Sage
Chicago, IL United States

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