A researcher who helped to develop the technology used to create synthetic human insulin has donated $100 million to the City of Hope to fund diabetes research, officials announced Thursday.
City of Hope said its research center would be renamed the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute in honor of Riggs, who has donated more than $310 million to the organization over the past 30 years with the goal of curing diabetes.
Riggs — director emeritus of the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope — had previously insisted that his gifts remain anonymous, but he agreed to publicly step forward in the hope of encouraging other donors to join the organization’s fight against diabetes and cancer, officials said.
Riggs and his colleagues developed the technology to create synthetic human insulin, which is now used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide for diabetes. He also developed recombinant DNA technology capable of producing humanized monoclonal antibodies, which are the foundation of modern treatments for diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases, according to City of Hope.
He has quietly contributed nearly all of the wealth from his discoveries to support leading-edge research toward the development of new treatments, according to City of Hope.
“I came to City of Hope because the environment here offers exactly that — hope for people with diabetes, cancer and many other serious diseases,” Riggs said in a statement released by City of Hope. “I believe in the promise of our work at City of Hope so strongly that one day, probably sooner than most think, we’ll create a world without diabetes. Yet, we will realize the full potential of this important work only through the generosity of many other donors who will choose to join us.”
Robert Stone, City of Hope’s president and CEO, called Riggs “a true visionary and a scientific giant,” saying that he has been “essential to the institute’s growth and accomplishments over five decades, as a researcher, discoverer, mentor and major donor.”
“His contributions to biomedical research have transformed the lives of countless people living with serious diseases and his mark on City of Hope is an indelible one that will continue on in the institute that now bears his name,” Stone added.
City of Hope, founded in 1913, is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.