For decades Northwestern Medicine has been on the cutting edge of cancer treatment for patients with brain and spinal tumors. But the great strides in research and clinical trials could not be achieved without the big hearts of philanthropic donors. 

The Northwestern Memorial Foundation and the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute they are Chicago’s Very Own.  

Dr. James Chandler is the Surgical Director of Neurooncology and Surgical Director of the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute.

“On the surgical front, we have a variety of scientists who have support from the NIH foundation looking at mechanisms by which brain tumors grow pathways critical to brain tumors,” he said.

Chandler said the research is often followed up with clinical trials. But he points out, it is crucial to have fundraising mechanisms in place to support the research.  

“Fundraising helps support the ideas,” he said. “The ideas that maybe started in a research lab or in conversations you were having with a patient about a new protocol or treating a disease.”

Connie Falcone is with the Northwestern Memorial Foundation. She attributes one of the foundations biggest fundraising events for the institute to the annual Minds Matter Gala.

“Minds Matter was started in 2009 by a group of grateful patients of the Malnati Institute and throughout the years it has raised millions of dollars to support the brain tumor institute,” she said.  

More than $5 million to be exact.  While the gala is uses to raise money, it also recognizes progress.  

If you would like to make a donation to the foundation or institute you can visit their website.

“I’m most proud of that,” Chandler said. “We have this integrative interdisciplinary approach to managing arguably one of the most difficult cancers.”

With world renowned doctors and scientists at the helm of the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute, the team is determined to win the battle against brain cancer.  

“While we may not have a cure, extending lives and probably most important, assuring patients and their families that this journey will be as good as this journey can be,” Chandler said.

The Northwestern Memorial Foundation and the Malnati Brain Tumor Institute are Chicago’s Very Own.