WBCS donations to Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center surpass $5 million

Feb. 12, 2014 College News - With its latest donation of $350,000, the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse (WBCS) has raised its cumulative contributions to the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center to $5.1 million, but the impact of the organization’s support is beyond measure.

Composed entirely of volunteers who work year-round to raise funds for early-stage breast cancer and prostate cancer research at MCW, WBCS has invigorated community awareness and philanthropy for the last 16 years. The dollars generated through its efforts have enabled MCW investigators to pursue promising avenues of scientific study aimed at developing new knowledge for breast cancer and prostate cancer. The group also recently endowed the WBCS Chair in Breast Cancer Research, which will provide a stream of income for a top cancer investigator recruited to conduct research in the WBCS Breast Cancer Research Laboratory.

“WBCS relies greatly on the determination of its volunteers and the enthusiasm of the community, and neither has ever disappointed us,” said Kadie M. Jelenchick, WBCS Chairperson. “We benefit from the goodwill of our sponsors, designers, Showhouse owners and more, and then we in turn are able to pay forward that generosity to the Medical College of Wisconsin, so faculty there can make progress toward curing breast cancer and prostate cancer. The best things are possible through partnership.”

With special events scheduled throughout southeast Wisconsin in 2014, WBCS continues to rally volunteers and guests to the cause of cancer research. The Pink Tie Gala is right around the corner in February, while the summer season includes the Raise a Glass to Hope Gala, a 5K run/2K walk, a golf outing and the Showhouse itself. This central event features tours of a private manor impressively redecorated by local interior designers and artisans. A survivors’ fashion show and luncheon cap the events in autumn.

Much like these events are made possible by a network of community leaders and participants, the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center is a network of cancer experts plus the equipment, facilities and personnel resources that support them in their effort to discover new treatments and cures for cancer.

“The thoughtful work of WBCS leadership and its many volunteers is representative of the passion that exists throughout the community for quality research that gives hope to patients with breast cancer or prostate cancer, and their families and friends,” said Ming You, MD, PhD, the Joseph F. Heil Professor in Molecular Oncogenesis and Director of the MCW Cancer Center. “All of our Cancer Center investigators at MCW take very seriously the trust placed in us by WBCS to apply this funding to projects that are both excellent and significant.”

Last year, three MCW Cancer Center researchers earned WBCS seed grants to advance promising projects.

Haris Vikis, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, is using his grant for a better understanding of what controls the spread of breast cancer, particularly to the lungs. The studies may result in better design of therapies that harness the tumor cell-killing capacity of neutrophils, a common type of white blood cell.

Qing (Robert) Miao, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery, is studying the stepwise progression of cancer from a single, genetically altered cell to breast cancer tumor. Dr. Miao seeks to determine if the Nogo-B Receptor can serve as a therapeutic target for breast cancer by investigating its role in breast cancer cell growth and invasion of other organs.

Yan-Qing Ma, PhD, Associate Investigator at the Blood Research Institute of BloodCenter of Wisconsin, is investigating kindling-2, a protein that is highly expressed in aggressive breast cancer cells and promotes cancer cell invasion. His research will provide insight into breast cancer malignancy while identifying a potential target for therapy.

In addition to these seed grants, work continues on a collaborative large center grant in which a broad team of MCW Cancer Center researchers are developing new approaches to halt the growth of primary breast tumors before metastasis occurs and to improve methods to slow metastasis and reverse the growth of secondary tumors.

“The enthusiasm WBCS has for supporting early-stage cancer research is both welcome and critical at this juncture in history. Federal dollars are declining in availability to biomedical researchers, which means there are increasing numbers of eligible and worthy research projects that are not being funded,” said MCW President and CEO John R. Raymond, Sr., MD. “We are grateful for the donations that WBCS continues to provide that help fill this gap at MCW.”

WBCS 2014 events

Showhouse for a Cure
Raise a Glass to Hope Gala Fund Raiser
May 30, 2014

Open to the public:
May 31 -  June 15, 2014
* Boutique open during Showhouse hours

Hope Springs Eternal:
WBCS Racing for Research at MCW
5K Run /2K Walk
Lake Park (www.wbcsrace.com)
June 7, 2014

Designer Day
Meet and chat with room designers at the Showhouse
June 8, 2014

Tee Up for a Cure®
Blue Mound Golf and Country Club
July 21, 2014

Pinktacular Event Salute to Survivors Fashion Show and Luncheon
Italian Community Center
Oct. 9, 2014


The WBCS Board of Directors presents its donation to the Medical College of Wisconsin at the WBCS recognition event on Oct. 29. Pictured (L-R) are Claudia Gavery; Vera Wilson; Patricia Virnig; Jan Lennon; Ellen Irion; Kadie Jelenchick (chair); John R. Raymond, Sr., MD (MCW President and CEO); Ming You, MD, PhD (the Joseph F. Heil Professor in Molecular Oncogenesis and Director of the MCW Cancer Center); Charles Haas; Colleen Reilly; Elizabeth Haas; and Robert Fono. Not pictured are: Barbie Blutstein, Jacqueline Hrovat, Diana Luttmann, Linda Short and Diane Zore.


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Page Updated 02/12/2014