< Lymphoma Research Foundation | lymphoma.org
Of Innovation and Progress
1995 was a significant year for the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF)—it was then that LRF realized its dual mission: to eradicate lymphoma—by funding innovative research guided by its world-renowned Scientific Advisory Board—and to serve those touched by this disease—by sharing research and treatment insights with the lymphoma community through national education programs.
Finding cures starts here. Through lymphoma-specific research grants and consortia, LRF seeks to understand the nearly 100 subtypes of lymphoma and support the development of new treatments. As a result, LRF-supported researchers have been involved in many of the most significant lymphoma breakthroughs witnessed in the past quarter-century.
In 1995, the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s (LRF) mission was realized and has since grown into something much bigger than anyone could imagine.
Through their journey with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Jerry Freundlich and his wife Barbara recognized the need for a lymphoma-specific organization that could provide increased funding of lymphoma research and support to other families impacted by lymphoma. With their vision set on eradicating lymphoma, the Freundlich’s worked tirelessly to create a community of healthcare professionals, researchers, patients, survivors, and caregivers who shared their passion for ensuring a brighter future for all those touched by this blood cancer.
“Our goal has always been to empower patients to become their own health advocates, and to ultimately one day see a world without lymphoma,” says the Freundlichs. “Over the past 25 years, LRF has not only gained a better understanding of the lymphoma but the effect that it can have on those who receive a diagnosis.” Since its inception, LRF has become the nation’s largest lymphoma-focused health organization.
1995 – LRF’s mission begins – advancing lymphoma research and delivering evidence-based information to patients, survivors and their loved ones.
2003 – The LRF Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) Initiative forms, making LRF one of the largest private funders of MCL – funding more than $25 million since inception.
2014 – LRF launches Erase Lymphoma, an initiative aimed to address the unique challenges faced by adolescent and young adult (AYA) lymphoma patients and survivors.
2015 – LRF hosts the first-ever multi-stakeholder scientific workshop exploring oral therapies for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
2019 – LRF hosts the first-ever international scientific workshop on marginal zone lymphoma (MZL).
To advance the future of lymphoma research, the LRF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) was established in 1995 under the leadership of its founding chair, Joseph R. Bertino, MD. Dr. Bertino began the SAB with just 10 members and a commitment to excellence and visionary thinking.
Today, the SAB is world renowned and comprised of 45 expert lymphoma clinicians and researchers who guide LRF’s research agenda and offer their expertise to inform programming and patient resources.
Current LRF SAB Chair, Andrew D. Zelenetz, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has been a member of the SAB since its inception. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Zelenetz believes that LRF has had a profound impact on an array of lymphoma research and scientists within the field. He says that this impact is evident through LRF’s unique research programs, which help to foster early-career scientists and develop the leading research and scientists of tomorrow. “It is important to the field of lymphoma that we attract the best and the brightest young investigators,” says Dr. Zelenetz. “The SAB has been instrumental in helping LRF ensure a brighter future for all those touched by lymphoma, and it is my honor to serve as the chair.”
1995 – Under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Bertino, the SAB was created to guide the Foundation’s research agenda.
2006 – Dr. Oliver Press (in memoriam) becomes LRF’s second SAB Chair, overseeing the establishment of LRF’s MCL Consortium and first MCL Scientific Workshop.
2008 – As the third SAB Chair, Dr. Richard Fisher oversaw the addition of several new subtype-specific grant mechanisms for faculty researchers to the LRF research portfolio.
2010 – During his term as SAB Chair, Dr. Bruce Cheson oversaw LRF’s first CLL Scientific Workshop and co-authored the meeting’s proceedings white paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
2012 – As SAB Chair, Dr. John Leonard oversaw the creation of the Lymphoma Clinical Research Mentoring Program (LCRMP), a first-of-its-kind mentoring and training program for early-career lymphoma researchers.
2015 – During his term as SAB Chair, Dr. Leo Gordon oversaw the continued development of LRF’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) lymphoma research portfolio, including LRF’s first AYA Scientific Workshop and Disease Focus Area grants focused on AYA lymphoma.
2017 – As the seventh SAB Chair, Dr. Thomas Habermann expanded LRF’s research consortia to include marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) and AYA lymphoma, overseeing the first international Scientific Workshop on MZL and LRF’s second AYA Scientific Workshop.
As the most trusted resource for lymphoma support and education, LRF is proud of its continued efforts and impact on the lymphoma community. At the forefront of LRF’s mission is its commitment to empowering patients with the support and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their care. LRF is dedicated to improving standards of education and patient support for all those impacted by a lymphoma diagnosis.
Having been involved with the Lymphoma Research Foundation for the past 13 years, Linda Vaughan, says LRF not only changed the course of her lymphoma journey but also became a large part of her life. Vaughan discovered LRF shortly after being diagnosed with transformed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and says that much like an extension of her own family, LRF has been there to support her every step of the way. “When I attended my first LRF program, I immediately felt a sense of belonging, and was greeted with such warmth and empathy,” says Vaughan. “I take comfort in knowing that I can always reach out to LRF and receive detailed information delivered with compassion.” She continues to give back to LRF in several capacities in hopes of helping the Foundation maintain its impact on the lymphoma community.
1996 – The inaugural LRF North American Educational Forum on Lymphoma was convenes in California. Today, the LRF Ed Forum is the largest lymphoma-specific conference in the world.
2008 – LRF hosts its first-ever Lymphoma Rounds, a professional education program specifically for those caring for lymphoma patients, in Chicago, IL. Today, Lymphoma Rounds is held in seven major U.S. cities.
2010 – Due in large part to LRF’s Advocacy Program the U.S. Congress designates September as National Blood Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). LRF’s BCAM initiative Light it Red for Lymphoma reaches more than 3 million people worldwide each year.
2013 – LRF launches Focus on Lymphoma, the first mobile app that provides lymphoma patients and caregivers lymphoma educational content and tools to manage their lymphoma.
Our Path Ahead
As the Foundation reflects on its past and celebrates the present, LRF keeps its focus on the future by
investing in the next generation of lymphoma scientists. LRF is committed to funding the most
promising lymphoma researchers who have the highest potential to improve patient care and,
ultimately, to improve patient outcomes.
LRF’s early funding catalyzed the mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) research of Selina Chen-Kiang, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College. She, along with her colleagues, identified both the molecular mechanism that causes some patients’ MCL to be resistant to ibrutinib (Imbruvica)–an oral agent, and ways to overcome that resistance. Three successive LRF grants contributed funding to this research, including an MCL Project Planning Grant in 2010, an MCL Correlative Clinical Studies Grant in 2011, and an MCL Developmental Grant in 2013. Thanks to these breakthroughs and LRF’s initial funding of this innovative research, Dr. Chen-Kiang and her colleagues were awarded a five-year, $9 million Program Project Grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2018. This is the first MCL-focused Program Project Grant from the NCI. “LRF’s early funding enabled us to begin to translate innovative concepts into groundbreaking therapies that improve the outcomes of mantle cell lymphoma patients,” Dr. Chen-Kiang says.
2001 – Researchers, including various SAB members, discover that diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is two distinct diseases, each with its own genetic profile.
2005 – In an LRF-funded study, researchers discover bortezomib shrinks tumors in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
2017 – The FDA approves the first gene therapy, CAR T cell therapy, for the treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). LRF funded the first study providing in vivo evidence that CAR T cells are effective in an animal model.
2019 – Due to a study led by SAB and MCL Consortium members, the FDA approves the first-ever combination and chemotherapy-free treatment regimen for patients with slow-growing forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Starts With You
By supporting LRF’s dual mission, you help to change the future for the more than one million people living with lymphoma in the United States and the more than 100,000 people that will be diagnosed this year alone. Finding cures starts here and with you.