Cedars-Sinai today announced a $20 million gift from Dr. and Mrs. H. Kao and the Kao Family Foundation to create the Kao Autoimmunity Institute to advance research and the treatment of rheumatologic diseases. This gift helps establish the Scleroderma Program within the institute, offering interdisciplinary and integrated care for scleroderma patients as well as to support clinical research, outreach, training, and education for those struggling with the disease.
More than 80 autoimmune diseases affect an estimated 24 million people in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health. Patients suffer from a broad spectrum of disorders, including scleroderma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, myositis, multiple sclerosis, Grave’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and Type 1 diabetes. These diseases are thought to be caused when the immune system–meant to defend against illness–begins attacking the body’s own organs, tissues, and cells.
The $20 Million Award
Clinical leaders and research scientists at Cedars-Sinai say the Kao gift will lay the groundwork for important medical advances in understanding autoimmune diseases and provide for the creation of a Scleroderma center of excellence. Cedars-Sinai and the Kao family share a common goal of identifying personalized treatments for patients with autoimmune diseases, moving beyond a one-size-fits-all treatment approach.
The new Kao Autoimmunity Institute and Scleroderma Program will be part of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Medicine. They will bring together clinicians, investigators, and allied health professionals from a variety of disciplines across Cedars-Sinai and its affiliated hospitals and care sites. The institute and program will be led by new directors, along with a new director of the Division of Rheumatology.
Opportunity for Clinical Investigators
“Our investigators will have the opportunity to improve patient care and outcomes by studying disease onset and progression, as well as the key roles the microbiome, endocrine system, genetics and gender may play in autoimmune diseases that disproportionately affect younger people and women,” reported Paul W. Noble, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine and director of the Women’s Guild Lung Institute.
“This important gift by the Kao family recognizes the work of our talented investigators and medical staff and their dedication to tackling the most challenging diseases,”mcommented Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB, executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the Medical Faculty at Cedars-Sinai. He continued, “We have a great deal of work ahead of us. The Kao family’s support and partnership are invaluable in that quest.”