Two new gifts from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to UCLA totaling $4 million will fund research in stem cell science and digestive diseases and support the recruitment of key faculty at two research centers.
The gifts bring The Broad Foundation's total support of faculty recruitment and basic and translational research at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and at the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases at UCLA's Division of Digestive Diseases to $30 million.
A $2 million gift to the Broad Stem Cell Research Center adds to The Broad Foundation's original 2007 gift of $20 million, which has supported faculty and research and launched the Innovation Award program, which furthers cutting-edge research at the center by giving UCLA stem cell scientists "seed funding" for their research projects. The new gift will enable the continuation of the award program, which has yielded a 10-to-1 return on investment with grantees securing additional funding from other agencies, including the NIH, and more than $200 million in total grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state's stem cell agency.
"The Broads' generous support has been essential to the development of new therapies that currently are in, or very near, clinical trials for treating blindness, sickle cell disease and cancer," said Owen Witte, director of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center. "The Broad Stem Cell Research Center's work, supported by critical philanthropic and other resources, quickly is being translated from basic scientific discoveries into new cellular therapies that will change the practice of medicine and offer future treatment options for diseases thought to be incurable, such as muscular dystrophy, autism and AIDS."
The $2 million gift to the Division of Digestive Diseases builds on nearly $6 million in previous commitments from The Broad Foundation since 2003.
The gifts have enabled the division to develop a comprehensive research and clinical enterprise focused on inflammatory bowel disease. Earning a multifold return for The Broad Foundation's initial investments, these grants have enabled investigators to secure $11 million in funding from pharmaceutical companies, the NIH and nonprofit foundations.
In addition, The Broad Foundation's Broad Medical Research Program has provided more than $600,000 in grants to UCLA researchers over the past decade for the study of inflammatory bowel disease.
The new gift will support the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and research led by Dr. Charalabos Pothoulakis, the center's director. Pothoulakis' team conducts research aimed at identifying the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of this group of chronic debilitating diseases, for which there is no cure.
The researchers have revealed how neuropeptides and hormones contribute to inflammatory bowel diseases and the roles of obesity and fat tissue in their development. The team has created a unique human fat cell and fat tissue biobank, and its investigations hold promise for the development of new drug treatments for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA was launched in 2005 with a UCLA commitment of $20 million over five years. A $20 million gift from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in 2007 resulted in the renaming of the center. With more than 200 members, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research is committed to a multi-disciplinary, integrated collaboration of scientific, academic and medical disciplines for the purpose of understanding adult and human embryonic stem cells. The center is a collaboration of the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and the UCLA College of Letters and Science.