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Northwestern Mutual Announces $600,000 in New Childhood Cancer Research Grants
Grants support promising young scientists devoted to curing childhood cancer

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Northwestern Mutual, a leading financial security company, is committed to giving all kids the chance to live life to the fullest. The company, through its Foundation, announced the funding of four new grants supporting childhood cancer research. Cancer research is one of the most under-funded causes in the U.S., and the leading cause of death by disease in children ages 1 to 19 in the country.1 Through Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's (ALSF) Young Investigator program, grants are created to support aspiring scientists who are early in their careers and are devoting their lives to finding better treatments and cures for childhood cancer.

Northwestern Mutual. (PRNewsFoto/Northwestern Mutual)

"We believe that these grants will help young scientists unlock new tools for discovering a cure for cancer," said Eric Christophersen, president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. "A brighter tomorrow for families enduring childhood cancer starts with a key finding by any of these deserving four grant recipients that are on their journey to make a difference in medical research."

Each Young Investigator grant recipient will receive $150,000 over the course of three years. The four new Young Investigator grant recipients include:

  • Cecile Roleau, Ph.D, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Dr. Roleau's research focuses on  identifying disease mechanisms and therapeutic opportunities in pediatric low-grade gliomas driven by MYB-QKI Fusions. Her work will study brain tumor cancer that can lead to finding designated, safe therapies to block the tumor. 
  • Steven Jonas, M.D./ Ph.D, University of California, Los Angeles: Dr. Jonas' research examines how harnessing the power of patients' immune systems can aide in the ongoing battle against cancer.
  • Sakshi Uppal, Ph.D, University of Chicago: Dr. Uppal's research explores the impact of hypoxia on epigenetic changes in neuroblastoma that usually affects children under 5 years old. His work will study how a low oxygen environment can contribute to tumor resistance and aggressive growth.
  • Beau Webber, Ph.D, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: Dr. Webber's research focuses on Osteosarcoma, the most common cancer of the bone in children and adolescents. His work will strive to reach a better understanding of the genetic mechanisms and underlying biological events involved in the initiation and development of osteosarcoma.

Each grant followed a competitive review process based upon scientific merit, potential to advance cures and treatments, and the investigator's dedication to childhood cancer research.

In addition to funding these four grants, Northwestern Mutual is sponsoring the fifth annual ALSF Young Investigator Summit being held in Los Angeles this fall where more than 40 young scientists will present their research. For the first time this year, participants will have the opportunity to present to pitch an innovative idea to accelerate their research.

Since 2012, Northwestern Mutual has donated more than $15 million in the fight against childhood cancer. To date, through the partnership with ALSF, Northwestern Mutual has funded more than 165,000 hours of research.

About Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott (1996-2004). In 2000, 4-year-old Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $140 million toward fulfilling Alex's dream of finding a cure, funding over 690 pediatric cancer research projects nationally. For more information on Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, visit AlexsLemonade.org.

About Northwestern Mutual Foundation 
The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is to improve the lives of children and families in need. The Foundation has given more than $300 million since its inception in 1992 and is designed to create lasting impact in the communities where the company's employees and financial representatives live and work. We accomplish this by combining financial support, volunteerism, thought leadership and convening community partners to deliver the best outcomes. Our efforts are focused nationally on curing childhood cancer, and locally on education, neighborhoods and making our hometown of Milwaukee a great destination.

About Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual has been helping families and businesses achieve financial security for 160 years. Through a distinctive, whole-picture planning approach including both insurance and investments, we empower people to be financially confident so they can live life differently. We combine the expertise of our financial professionals with a personalized digital experience to help our clients navigate their financial lives every day. With $250.4 billion in assets, $28.2 billion in revenues, and more than $1.6 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.4 million people who rely on us for life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, brokerage and advisory services, trust services, and discretionary portfolio management solutions. The company holds more than $100 billion of client assets as a part of its wealth management company and investment services. Northwestern Mutual ranks 97 on the 2017 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2017.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a comprehensive approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, life insurance with long-term care benefits, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (securities), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (NMWMC) (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company (NLTC) (long-term care insurance).

1 https://www.cancer.gov/research/progress/snapshots/pediatric

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual

For further information: Elizabeth DeLuca, 800-323-7033, mediarelations@northwesternmutual.com