Top: Lisa Sapiro and Fred Miller. Photo: Courtesy of the Miller family. Bottom: (From left) 2017 UCLA STOP CANCER award recipients Drs. Nicholas Nickols, John Kyung Lee, Brigitte Gomperts and Tonye Jones; Dr. Kenneth Dorshkind, interim director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center; and award recipients Drs. Dinesh Rao, Maie St. John, Gottfried Konecny and Andrew Goldstein. Photo: TJ Reeves
For Lisa Sapiro, raising money for cancer research has always been a family affair. Her father Fred Miller served on the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation (JCCF) Board of Directors for more than 15 years, and both her father and mother Barbara are founding members of STOP CANCER, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization. Sapiro now serves on the JCCF board and is an active member of STOP CANCER, serving as liaison between both organizations, which share the goal of raising crucial seed funding for early-stage discovery research.
“Stepping onto the board at Jonsson, where my father left off, is a way that we can keep our family legacy of helping to fund cancer research alive,” said Sapiro. “There are many multigeneration families who are now involved at STOP CANCER. Unfortunately, a cure has not yet been discovered, so we all just continue to help raise the necessary money to fund the vital research. The work won’t stop until a cure has been found.”
According to Bette Bergsman, executive director of STOP CANCER, technology and new fundraising methods help bring young members into the organization. For example, a crowdfunding model allows members with a shared interest in a specific type of cancer to join together to fund a seed grant in that area. STOP CANCER was launched in 1988 by the late Dr. Armand Hammer, founder of Occidental Petroleum Corp., and Sherry Lansing, former chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures and a current regent of the University of California. Since the early 1990s, the organization has awarded approximately $9 million in research funding to UCLA scientists. Past recipients include Dr. Dennis J. Slamon (FEL ’82), who developed the groundbreaking breast-cancer drug trastuzumab, and Dr. Antoni Ribas (FEL ’98, ’01), who led the clinical trial that resulted in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab.
“STOP CANCER has a history of funding research that ultimately has led to the development of new cancer treatments,” said Dr. Kenneth Dorshkind, interim director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Often, this support has come at the early stages of a project, when it would be unlikely to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health or other organizations.”
In 2017, STOP CANCER grants totaling $450,000 are advancing UCLA research in areas that include prostate and lung cancer, leukemia and lymphoma. “Helping to fund this important work is a very rewarding experience,” said Sapiro. “I hope that we will continue to see steps toward finding a cure for all types of cancer and that our children and grandchildren will know of cancer as a disease from the past.”
For more information, contact Margaret Steele at: (310) 794-5244