Medical Innovations, Powered by Giving

At NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore), caring for our neighbors doesn’t just happen in the hospital or at the doctor’s office. In fact, our researchers are hard at work behind the scenes, right this very moment—analyzing data, testing, learning and uncovering breakthroughs that will change the future of medicine in our community and beyond.

A decade ago, Jianfeng Xu, MD, DrPH, Vice President of Translational Research at NorthShore, published his new genetic risk score (GRS) method in The New England Journal of Medicine. He developed the GRS method to help measure the effect of certain genetic variants on disease risk in patients—extending well beyond family history.

Since then, Dr. Xu’s team at NorthShore has been working persistently to improve the GRS method and demonstrate its clinical validity and utility, with a special focus on cancer care.

“Samples of blood and saliva are given to a genetic testing company to start the testing of the personalized medicine,” said Dr. Xu. “NorthShore has the first clinical-grade prostate and diabetes GRS in the country.”

The test helps identify the patient’s risk of acquiring the disease and develop a personalized approach for prevention and early screening.

“In a clinical setting, our doctors can use GRS testing to detect warning signs and catch disease early,” added Dr. Xu. “This research is saving lives right now, right here at NorthShore.”

Ultimately, Dr. Xu and his team hope to empower patients to ask the right questions and take charge of their health through their first point of access in the primary care setting.

When asked about the impact of philanthropy on his work, Dr. Xu insists it is transformative, noting that “without it, we would not have the support, the incredible team, and the ability to conduct lifesaving, life-changing research. Philanthropy helps fund our work and gives us the freedom to break out of the conservative way of thinking in medicine.

The Impact of Your Generosity

As a nonprofit hospital system, NorthShore relies on donations to advance the work of experts like Dr. Xu and his team.

At any given time, we’re conducting more than 1,000 active research projects, pioneering state-of-the-art procedures and treatments, analyzing extensive and intricate patient data, and uncovering breakthroughs that will create a healthier future for our neighbors. Philanthropy helps provide seed funding for these critical projects and technologies.

Gifts to NorthShore Foundation are always appreciated and can be made securely online here. To have the greatest impact, please make your contribution by December 31, 2023, to support innovation and exceptional care in the new year.