Goodrich Foundation and Hugh Kaul Foundation Support Stem Cell Institute
The groundbreaking work in adult stem cell research by Tim Townes, M.D., chairman of the UAB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, has great potential to improve the lives of countless individuals afflicted with hereditary and acquired diseases. Recent gifts will support this important work and help support the recently established Stem Cell Institute at UAB. Through the Goodrich Foundation, the Goodrich family made a significant contribution to support Townes’s endeavors. With these funds, his laboratory research will continue to grow and expand and hopefully lead to new therapies for enhanced clinical care for sickle cell patients.
(Left) Bill Goodrich
(Below left) Henry and the late Billie Grace Goodrich
(Below right) Gillian and Mike Goodrich
“The advances Dr. Townes and other UAB scientists are making in medical research would not be possible without the generous philanthropic support we receive from the Goodrich family and other benevolent community partners,” says UAB President Carol Garrison.
“It is often forgotten that research being done by Tim Townes is the result of many efforts before him that were vetted by Tim and others to establish the vast breadth of proven research that we have today,” Bill Goodrich says. “As this research database grows, it is even more important to provide the right environment for both rapid and quality growth. Looking back less than a year ago, it’s easy to see that Tim and his team are moving on several exciting fronts. A cure for such diseases as sickle cell anemia is real and should be reachable during this decade. Because we and other contributors helped fund Tim’s efforts, many experiments were conducted, allowing for him to apply and receive a five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. The grant allows Tim and his team to continue their work at the highest level.”
|The late Hugh Kaul|
The Hugh Kaul Foundation also recently made a most generous grant supporting the research of Dr. Townes. “Dr. Townes and his team appear to be near to perfecting a gene replacement or alteration therapy that could ultimately eradicate sickle cell anemia,” says foundation trustee Carla Gale, vice president and trust officer for Regions Bank. “Sickle cell is a disease that affects a large number of people here in Alabama, and the chance to play a role in facilitating the development of a working therapy to help cure this disease and so positively impact the health of many in our community is just something we wanted to be a part of. It should also generate additional jobs at UAB, increase national funding for scientific research, and ultimately increase the productivity of our workforce.
“This is the type of research and discovery that puts UAB in the forefront of the science world both nationally and internationally,” Gale adds, “because it provides good publicity for UAB, Birmingham, and our state in general; it helps UAB attract top-notch talent to Birmingham and retain that talent; it directly and indirectly helps secure funding from the NIH and so many other national foundations and funding sources for medical research; and it is a viable solution to one of the biggest health needs in our own backyard. We hope that our interest and support of this important program will encourage other local foundations, companies, individuals, and the state to support this cause, not just for its many positive health benefits but also for its potential economic development impact on the state.”
“We appreciate the willingness of the Goodrich family and the Hugh Kaul Foundation to partner with us as we work to secure additional funding to further Dr. Townes’s work,” says Shirley Salloway Kahn, vice president for development, alumni, and external relations. “We are very excited about working with them to support the Stem Cell Institute at UAB.”
Townes adds, “The gifts from the Hugh Kaul and Goodrich foundations have enabled us to add the genes required to reprogram patient skin cells into IPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells and then to delete the virus/genes so that they do not cause problems later. We are now correcting mutations in these IPS cells and will then differentiate them into blood stem cells that can be transplanted back into the patients who donated the skin biopsy. Transplantation of these cells into patients is still three to five years away; however, support from the Hugh Kaul and Goodrich foundations speeds up this process tremendously. I am very grateful for the generous support of these organizations and promise to continue to use the funds in ways that get us closer to our ultimate goal of curing patients.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Winter/Spring 2010