Angelenos with autoimmune diseases can rejoice. Cedars-Sinai has announced a $20 million gift that will be used to create the an autoimmunity advanced research and treatment institute.
The hefty donation, from Dr. and Mrs. Min H. Kao and the Kao Family Foundation, will establish both the Kao Autoimmunity Institute and the Scleroderma Program within the institute. Scleroderma is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as an autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
“Our family is fortunate to be in a position to partner with an academic medical center that places a premium on patient care and game-changing medical research,” said Min H. Kao, a Taiwan-born American electrical engineer, businessman, philanthropist and billionaire. “We truly hope this gift will enable Cedars-Sinai to develop a nationally recognized institute that brings lifesaving treatments to those who experience debilitating diseases.”
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 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.