October 20, 2015 18:00 ET

Eric Lefkofsky - and His Wife Liz Donate $500,000 to Support Immunotherapy for Gastric Cancer Research at Stanford University

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - October 20, 2015) - Eric Lefkofsky, CEO and Co-founder of Groupon, and his wife Liz have donated $500,000 to Stanford University from their private charitable foundation, the Lefkofsky Family Foundation. The foundation's gift will support the Oncology Division at the Stanford's School of Medicine's ongoing research of immunotherapy for gastric cancer. The donation will help to further what is a relatively new but promising procedure.

The funds given by Liz and Eric Lefkofsky will be distributed under the direction of the Assistant Professor of Medicine (Oncology) at the Stanford University Medical Center, Pamela L. Kunz. Stanford Medicine Cancer Institute's continued research in immunotherapy has yielded some exciting developments. The research will focus on the effectiveness of epacadostat and pembrolizumab in gastric cancer. Pembrolizumab has been approved to treat melanoma that cannot be removed with surgery or has metastasized; Epacadostat has been tested in clinical trials to treat fallopian tube, malignant melanoma, and ovarian cancers. The study will determine whether the possibility to combine epacadostat and pembrolizumb could handle the sicknesses, which has been defiant to typical protocols in the past. The Lefkofsky Family Foundation's donation allows Stanford Medicine staff to further their research in determining whether this combination therapy can be successful.

Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancer-related deaths in the world. Currently, patients with the sickness are treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and highly-invasive complete surgical resection. These procedures have provided little success increasing the survival rate of patients stricken with the disease. However, recent advances in medicine may make this standard protocol a thing of the past. For example, Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to target and destroy tumor cells and have shown success in certain types of illnesses, such as breast cancer. Also, in treating lung cancer, patients who underwent this kind of treatment versus chemotherapy had double the survival rate. It is possible that the funds Eric Lefkofsky provides for immunotherapy can be used to treat other resistant types of infections and improve the survival rates of patients as well as their quality of lives with a treatment that is not as invasive.

About Lefkofsky Family Foundation

The Lefkofsky Family Foundation is a private charitable foundation that was established in 2006 by Liz and Eric Lefkofsky. The purpose of the Lefkofsky Family Foundation is to advance high-impact programs, initiatives and research that enhance the quality of human life in the communities we serve. To achieve this mission, the Foundation strives to: ensure access to quality education; improve fundamental human rights; propel innovative medical research; and expand cultural initiatives. For more information on the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, visit:

About Eric Lefkofsky

Eric Lefkofsky is CEO and Co-founder of Groupon. He is also a Co-founder of Lightbank, InnerWorkings, Echo Global Logistics, Mediaocean and Uptake. Eric Lefkofsky is a Trustee of Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Steppenwolf Theater, The Museum of Science and Industry and World Business Chicago. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago. Eric Lefkofsky graduated from the University of Michigan and received his Juris Doctor at University of Michigan Law School. For more information on Eric Lefkofsky, visit:

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