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Shame of a Nation
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The Culprit is Cancer

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Fall 1998
The Culprit is Cancer
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It was 1989. Slamon was getting closer to understanding HER-2. But in order to accelerate and expand his work, he needed money - lots of it. Funding for research even this seemingly promising can be difficult to obtain and very slow in coming. Slamon was stalled at a critical crossroad.

Enter Lilly Tartikoff.

"He's Frankenstein and I'm the monster," jokes Tartikoff. "Together, there's no stopping us."

Tartikoff and Slamon have a close, unusual relationship. He provides the marvelous science. She's got the connections and resolve to raise millions for research. When she asks him to, Slamon speaks to Fortune 500 CEOs or Hollywood studio executives so they'll understand the work, feel invested in the cause. Tartikoff is mastermind of the glamorous Fire & Ice Ball, which she cochairs with Revlon's Ronald O. Perelman, and she founded the Revlon Run/Walk with Lisa Paulson and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Tartikoff and Perelman have together raised more than $17 million for Slamon, the Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program and other women's health research programs at UCLA.

When Slamon learned of the success of the Phase III clinical trials late last year, Lilly Tartikoff was one of the first people he called. The timing was especially poignant: Her husband, Brandon, had died in August of a recurrence of Hodgkin's disease. "It was bittersweet because it hit so close to home," Tartikoff recalls. "While I was thrilled, it was impossible for me to feel peaceful and joyous beyond belief. But I celebrate for all women. And I celebrate for Dr. Slamon. He's a born visionary."

Sixteen years earlier, Slamon had saved Brandon Tartikoff's life. Tartikoff had been ill with Hodgkin's but was assured by a prominent physician that he was now healthy. Slamon found Tartikoff still had active Hodgkin's and put him on a promising new therapy. When he recovered, a grateful Lilly pledged to raise money for Slamon's science.

But Slamon's research on genes was only beginning. It would be years before he availed himself of Lilly Tartikoff's offer.

"I waited a long time," Tartikoff confirms.

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