The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has made a $10 million contribution to stem cell research and training programs, it was reported Wednesday.
The donation is a major boost to USC’s groundbreaking stem cell programs, the USC News blog reported. The donation is part of the foundation’s latest $30 million funding initiative to support its namesake Eli and Edythe Broad stem cell research centers at USC, UCLA and University of California, San Francisco.
The funds will bolster research, training and faculty recruitment and retention at the three universities. At USC, the new funding will support the center’s core facilities and training programs, enable recruitment and attract collaborative research funding to apply stem cell-based technologies to the challenge of age-associated diseases.
“This generous investment will allow our talented investigators to apply the power of stem cell systems to model disease, identify disease causing mechanisms and develop novel therapeutic approaches targeted to key body systems. With age, the body’s repair and surveillance systems falter, leading to chronic disease and age-associated cancers that compromise health and the quality of life,” said Andrew McMahon, the W.M. Keck Provost Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Biological Sciences and director of USC’s stem cell center. “We are grateful to Eli and Edythe Broad for their vital, visionary support of our center’s efforts.”
USC researchers are studying the role of stem cells in normal development, as well as in diseases, injuries and cancers affecting every organ system in the body. To accelerate the translation of this research into clinical therapies, they use a variety of sophisticated approaches, ranging from zebrafish genetically edited to harbor disease-related mutations, to mice with human immune systems, to patient-derived cells that can be grown into mini-organs called organoids.
Current projects run the gamut from understanding kidney development to engineering new bone, from performing large drug screens on cells derived from ALS patients to conducting clinical trials addressing everything from macular degeneration to paralysis.
Addressing age-related health problems is especially critical because the nation’s population of older adults is growing. The number of Americans aged 65 or older is expected to increase from 46 million Wednesday to more than 98 million by 2060. Most adults in this age group have a chronic disease, and many more live with multiple chronic health conditions.