Supporting His Doctor’s Lung Cancer Research

Steve (left) and Linda Silverstein with
Dr. Thomas Hensing

It has been a scary journey for Steve and Linda Silverstein. Life changed dramatically just 16 months ago when a nagging cough prompted Steve to go to the doctor. Tests and a biopsy revealed he had stage 4 lung cancer. After four rounds of chemotherapy at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center in Glenbrook and a new targeted drug that addresses his particular condition, Silverstein is on the mend.

“I’ve had limited side effects from this medication, and I feel good,” he said. “I’ve been told I look good, too, but it’s been quite a trip. I’m grateful to my team of doctors, who tell me only 4 to 5 percent of lung cancer patients have a mutation that responds to targeted medications.”

Every year, NorthShore’s Thoracic Oncology Program treats more than 400 new patients with lung malignancies, said NorthShore Oncologist and Thoracic Oncology Program Co-Director Thomas Hensing, MD, who together with a team of lung cancer specialists, researchers, molecular pathologists and caregivers was able to develop a personalized patient treatment plan for Silverstein.

NorthShore’s Thoracic Oncology Program focuses on improving patient outcomes through clinical and translational research and personalized medicine. “Clinical research enables us to determine whether new treatments are safe and effective and work better than current treatments,” said Dr. Hensing.

“Every treatment that's a gold standard treatment was once part of a clinical research program. We have a commitment within our program to have a clinical trial option for all patients, regardless of tumor type or clinical stage, so that they can continue to receive exceptional care close to their home. Through the continued expansion of our biospeciman repository and research database and translational research, we're working to improve our understanding of this disease and link patients to the most promising treatment options,” he added.

The Silversteins donated a generous gift to support Dr. Hensing’s thoracic oncology research, some of which will examine tissue samples from patients at NorthShore and develop research studies with other leading-edge institutions. One study will use tissue from the biospeciman repository in addition to patients’ family history and genomic information to better identify patients at risk for developing lung cancer and which patients may respond poorly to treatment. The results of this type of research may further guide targeted cancer therapy, enhance the identification of those with genetic risks and help redefine screening criteria, allowing more at-risk patients to be diagnosed at an earlier stage.

“We appreciate the blessings of NorthShore, which is in our world and neighborhood of family and friends here,” said Linda Silverstein. “Kellogg Cancer Center is really a step above,” said Steve. “The staff is very committed and empathetic, and the specialized lung cancer team is a unique offering that really makes a difference. We’re happy to support Dr. Hensing and his research, and we hope it will help others down the line.”

“We wouldn’t be able to accomplish this research without philanthropic support,” said Dr. Hensing.”We’re all very grateful to Linda and Steve for their exceptional gift.”

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the most fatal cancer for both men and women in the United States. The disease is hard to treat because it is remarkably difficult to detect in its early stages. It can arise from environmental exposures such as tobacco smoke, genetic changes inherited at birth or other undetermined causes that can develop as a result of errors in cell division.

If you would like to support Dr. Hensing’s research, please visit foundation.northshore.org/18EV-SS. For more information about Kellogg Cancer Center, please contact Lisa Rietmann at lrietmann@northshore.org or call 224.364.7230.

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