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Science and Philanthropy Defeat Breast Cancer


Living Proof”, a Lifetime Original movie that premiered on October 18, 2008, is a television adaptation of the book “HER-2” by NBC science correspondent Robert Bazell that chronicles the development in the 1980s and 1990s of Herceptin, the first molecularly targeted therapy for breast cancer. It tells the story of the historic partnership forged by researcher Dr. Dennis Slamon and colleagues at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) with philanthropists Lilly Tartikoff and Revlon CEO Ronald O. Perelman, patient advocates led by Fran Visco and the National Breast Cancer Coalition, scientists at Genentech, and Barbara Bradfield and other courageous breast cancer patients who participated in the initial clinical trials of the drug.

Philanthropic allies Tartikoff and Perelman raised crucial funds for the basic and clinical research that eventually led to Herceptin’s FDA approval in 1998. Their philanthropic leadership encouraged other gifts large and small and shortened Herceptin’s research and approval timeline by many years—saving the lives of tens of thousands of women with breast cancer in the process.

Herceptin was the first proof of principle that cancer researchers could identify what was broken in a cancer cell and then find a way to fix it. These targeted therapies are more effective and less toxic than traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy because they home in only on the cancer cells, sparing the healthy cells.

JCCC is an international leader in the development and testing of targeted therapies for cancer, including Herceptin for breast cancer, Gleevec and Sprycel for chronic myelogeneous leukemia, Tarceva for non-small cell lung cancer and Avastin for breast, colorectal and lung cancers. Other targeted therapies are in the pipeline and cancer center investigators are working diligently to translate new laboratory discoveries into treatments that will benefit cancer patients everywhere.

You can support these vital efforts to create targeted approaches for cancers of all kinds and help other cancer patients in need of new hope and better treatment options by making a donation. Enter "Dr. Slamon" in the comments section of the online giving form to direct your contribution to the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program.

If you or someone you care for has benefited from the life-saving targeted treatment Herceptin, please share your story with us by emailing

“Living Proof” was written by Vivienne Radkoff and filmed in Louisiana.  One of the executive producers was actress Renee Zellweger, whose publicist is among the many women who have been treated successfully with Herceptin. JCCC was not involved in the making of “Living Proof.”

Last updated: 10/10/2011 10:33:13 AM