PHOTO CREDIT: Mayo Clinic

  • 2021 Gerstner Sloan Kettering Chairman’s Prize Honors Research That Paves Way for New Cell-Based Therapies to Treat Autoimmune Diseases and Inflammation
    September 23, 2021

    Zhongmin Wang, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSK), has been awarded the 2021 Chairman’s Prize. The competitive award is presented annually and was established by GSK’s Board of Trustees Chair Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. for whom the school is named. This year’s Chairman’s Prize, in the amount of $2,000, shines a light on Mr. Wang’s winning submission, which was published last month in Nature Immunology. Mr. Wang and his coauthors specifically designed mouse models for the project, which demonstrated that regulatory T (Treg) cells are fully functional under conditions of established inflammation and are capable of reversing, in addition to preventing, fatal autoimmunity. The results pave the way for the development of Treg cell-based therapies for a broad spectrum of autoimmune diseases and inflammatory disorders that raise the risk of cancer. “I am honored that the prize committee recognized the outstanding quality and potential impact of this research,” says Mr. Wang, who is conducting his dissertation studies in the laboratory of his thesis mentor, Alexander Rudensky, Chair of the Immunology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering and senior author of the study.

    Read more at mskcc.org
  • FamilyAid Boston entrusted to expand major partnerships
    September 9, 2021

    FamilyAid Boston’s proven success housing more than 1,700 children and parents during the pandemic has led to an expansion of emergency shelter and housing prevention programs with their leading partners, Boston Public Schools and Boston Children’s Hospital. Expansion of the two programs will allow more families to receive case management and housing services, ultimately supporting hundreds of children and parents throughout the school year. Since March 2020, FamilyAid Boston has housed more than 400 families through our Boston Public Schools partnership. Due to the success of the program, FamilyAid will coordinate housing placement and support services for an additional 1,100 BPS children and parents during the 2021 school year. FamilyAid’s partnership with local hospitals, which assists families with eviction prevention services and access to shelter, is also expanding.The expansion represents a $2.1-million expansion of a public and private partnership that brings together city, state, and federal agencies, and long-time FamilyAid funders Gerstner Philanthropies and Day 1 Families Fund. Gerstner Philanthropies has supported FamilyAid Boston since 2015, providing over $1.3 million in funding.

    Read more at familyaidboston.org
  • Mayo Clinic Announces 2021 Gerstner Family Career Development Awardees

    Moritz Binder M.D., a physician-scientist in Mayo Clinic's divisions of Hematology and Oncology, and Satsuki Yamada, M.D., Ph.D., a physician-scientist in the division of Cardiovascular Diseases, are recipients of the 2021 Gerstner Family Career Development Awards. Dr. Binder is investigating mutation-specific therapeutic targets for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, a cancer that starts in blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and invades the blood, and Dr. Satsuki is working to develop a targeted regenerative biotherapy to restore cardiac function in individuals who have suffered a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. These competitive awards are presented annually by Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine to researchers conducting innovative investigations to predict, prevent, treat and cure disease using individualized medicine approaches. The Gerstner Family Career Development Awards is a benefactor-sponsored initiative that seeks to promote a specialized workforce for individualized medicine discovery, translation and application. Made possible by a grant from the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Fund at Vanguard Charitable, the award provides important seed money for early-stage investigators interested in launching a career in individualized medicine.

    Read more at mayoclinic.org
  • Could regenerative medicine relieve neck, back pain?

    Mayo Clinic is looking to regenerative medicine as a potential long-term solution for degenerative disk disease that has for years eluded medical science. Millions of people in the U.S. are afflicted with chronic neck and back pain that often comes after years of wear and tear on the spine. Current treatments provide only temporary relief for this common disorder, and finding a cure has been a great challenge for researchers. Wenchun Qu, M.D., Ph.D., a physiatrist and pain specialist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, and director of Regenerative Pain Medicine at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, hypothesizes that therapeutic answers to degenerative disk disease are hidden in mesenchymal stem cells. Dr. Qu's hypothesis is that mesenchymal stem cells could provide a new option for reducing inflammation, relieving pain and restoring spinal disks. He is applying his research to a regenerative medicine service he began at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and has now introduced at Mayo Clinic in Florida. In addition to this work, Dr. Qu is leading other regenerative medicine research to investigate the safety, feasibility and effectiveness of using bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells to treat spine osteoarthritis with support from Gerstner Philanthropies.

    Read more at mayoclinic.org
  • Helping Hands Program Update: Q1 2021 Highlights
    June 17, 2021

    Our Helping Hands grantee social services organizations have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. We communicate with our Helping Hands grantee organizations informally throughout the year, and each quarter we ask them to report formally on program statistics, trends, and case studies. Based on the data and conversations with our grantee partners, though need remains high, the impact of the pandemic on our Helping Hands grantee organizations and the communities they serve is starting to lessen. Though the trends discussed are promising, recovery from the impact of COVID is in the early stages, especially for people served by our grantee organizations as compared with people in more comfortable economic circumstances. We have heard from all of our grantee organizations about the significant amount of unpaid rent so many of their clients have accrued.

    Read more about the impact of Helping Hands