Hastings Foundation Grants USC $7.5 Million for New Pulmonary Research Center

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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The Hastings Foundation has announced that it is going to grant $7.5 million in support to the University of South California (USC) for the creation of the Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research (HCPR) at Keck Medicine of USC. The grant will be spread across five years with the main purpose on improving research to treat lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The new funding is expected to accelerate efforts to improve global lung health through the work of the Center’s basic and translational investigators, as well as clinicians focused on advancing treatment for lung conditions. The chief of the division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Keck Medicine of USC, Zea Borok will direct the HCPR and has already shared its plans for the funding.

“We expect this generous gift from the Hastings Foundation will help us greatly enhance pulmonary research and clinical medicine at Keck Medicine of USC,” stated Borok, who is professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular biology. “This gift will support our efforts to recruit renowned scientists and promising young researchers in basic lung biology, epigenetics, regenerative medicine and stem cell research, complementing our current research efforts with their knowledge and expertise.”

The president of the foundation’s board of directors, David Tirrell, explained that “this gift builds on the relationship between the Hastings Foundation and USC that has lasted more than 50 years. We are pleased with the pulmonary research we’ve seen at the Keck School of Medicine and felt we could expand on that history by establishing the center to provide a focal point for research and recruitment of faculty.”

The research to be conducted at the center will focus on injuries, reparation and regeneration of the lungs with the main purpose of finding novel therapy and even a cure for these pulmonary conditions, which affect millions of people all over the world. In order to so, the center is planning on gathering contributions from all scientists at USC working on projects related to lung care.

The new HCPR is expected to generate new collaborations and shared opportunities for scientists and clinicians from the USC Clinical Center for Advanced Lung Disease, as well as the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. In addition, the university is currently recruiting new faculty members and is planning on launching the HCPR during an inaugural symposium scheduled for March 2016.

“The HCPR will attract the best and brightest scientists and students studying advanced lung disease, adding to our medical school’s strength in research,” believes the dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Carmen A. Puliafito. “The Keck School is dedicated to finding new treatments and cures for everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease to restoring hearing and eyesight. We’re grateful to the Hastings Foundation for their support of our work to cure lung disease.”