Cancer Research

GI TractWhat is GI Cancer? Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer is cancer of the organs in the digestive system, including the pancreas, liver, stomach, colon, esophagus, gallbladder, small intestine and rectum.

Since 1999, the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation has funded breakthrough research to fight gastrointestinal (GI) cancers and increase survivorship.

We work in partnership with the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, a national leader in the battle to overcome cancer. Our shared goal under the leadership of Director Leonidas Platanias, MD, PhD and Director for Cooperative Groups Al Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO, is to raise awareness and funds to advance life-saving cancer medicine.

Since 2001, we have committed over $3 million to advancing GI cancer research and patient care.


committed to fund breakthrough research to fight GI cancers.


Nearly 100% of eligible cancer patients donate to the tissue bank each year.

20 years

of partnership with the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University

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The Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only two comprehensive cancer centers in Illinois.

Our Cancer Research Initiatives

GI Cancer OncoSET Program

The Harold E. Eisenberg GI Cancer OncoSET is an extension of the Lurie Cancer Center’s breakthrough OncoSET Program. In 2014, the Lurie Cancer Center became the first academic cancer center in Chicago and one of only a handful in the nation to provide personalized medicine to patients with tumors —especially tumors that are resistant to traditional cancer therapies.

OncoSET (Sequence, Evaluate, Treat) is based on the premise that each individual and every person’s cancer is unique. It harnesses the power of precision medicine to identify tailored therapies for patients based on the abnormal genes specific to their tumor.

Located on Northwestern’s Chicago medical campus, the OncoSET Clinic combines genomic sequencing and sophisticated molecular analysis with standard pathology to identify new, individually tailored treatments and clinical trials for patients. OncoSET is an innovative approach to deliver personalized, and effective cancer treatments to patients who currently have very limited options.

We believe in the enormous potential of OncoSET at the Lurie Cancer Center and want to help courageous patients with GI cancers who are facing such limited options. We have committed millions of dollars to create The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation GI Cancer OncoSET Program at the Lurie Cancer Center.

Now, we need you and your support!

GI Cancer Tissue Bank

The Harold E. Eisenberg GI Cancer Tissue Bank is the first of its kind in the Midwest and is at the forefront of cancer medicine. Samples allow researchers to study what characterizes cancer tissue to improve prevention, detection and treatment. The bank stores over 27,000 samples, growing each month.

The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation provides support for the at the Lurie Cancer Center GI Cancer Tissue Bank.

Now, we need you and your support!

Research Scholars

In 2023, we awarded $50,000 to support the work of Research Scholars Shannon Lauberth, PhD and Hidayatullah Munshi, MD. Dr. Lauberth’s work will be focused on RNA based therapeutics for treatment of colorectal cancer. Dr. Munshi’s work will be focused on the KRAS mutation for pancreatic cancer. The research scholar award gives scientists the necessary resources and time needed to ask novel research questions and explore new ideas related to GI cancers.

To learn more about past Scholars we’ve funded and their research findings, please check out our Stewardship Report.

Cancer Care Packages

Our Cancer Care Packages are designed to help ease the side effects of cancer treatment for newly diagnosed gastrointestinal cancer patients.

Each bag is crafted with love by our Junior Board and includes items like blankets, socks, winter hats, herbal teas, playing cards, anti-nausea lozenges and more.

To make a donation to support our Cancer Care Package program, please click here.

Our Stewardship Report
Cancer Care Package

Make An Impact!

Donations from generous supporters like you allow the Lurie Cancer Center to collect, store and research cancer tissue samples. Each dollar brings us closer to personalized medicine and life-saving treatments.