Kidney Project receives two major gifts, increased Hind professorship endowment
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Research at the UCSF School of Pharmacy to develop the first implantable bioartificial kidney recently received exceptional private support: $1 million from the family of the late philanthropists Harry and Diana Hind, and $50,000 from the Patterson Barclay Memorial Foundation.
Both gifts provide major ongoing support for The Kidney Project, a national effort to create a long-term treatment for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) via a surgically implanted device the size of a coffee cup that will carry out the vital functions of a normal kidney, from filtering waste to regulating blood pressure.
The project is currently building and testing increasingly complex device prototypes in stages with engineers, scientists, and physicians across the United States. It is led by bioengineer Shuvo Roy, PhD, a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.
The bioartificial kidney will offer a new option for about 600,000 Americans and two million people worldwide living with ESRD, also known as chronic kidney failure. The goal is to replace dialysis, which costs U.S. Medicare $24 billion a year, yet offers only short-term treatment (about a third of patients survive beyond five years). Kidney transplants, the other option, are limited by a severe shortage of donor organs.
The Hind family gift increases the corpus of the endowed Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professorship in Pharmaceutical Sciences II, which is held by Roy. He uses the endowment income to support development of the bioartificial kidney.
The distinguished professorship was originally established by the Hinds in 2004. Harry Hind was a UCSF School of Pharmacy alumnus, a major benefactor of the School and UCSF, and an inventor of health products, including solutions that revolutionized contact lens use.
The project’s support from the Patterson Barclay Memorial Foundation represents the largest single donation ever by the 50-year-old Georgia-based family foundation and its first gift to support kidney research. The family that runs the Foundation has, like millions of others, been affected by kidney disease. They were inspired to contribute after reading about the project online.
The Foundation’s mission “to assist those who are doing all they can for themselves, yet simply need a little extra help,” is especially apt for the current status of The Kidney Project, notes Roy.
“Through philanthropy, we are pushing forward to get to clinical trials [tests in humans], and trigger interest from other funding partners,” he says. “So at this point, these major gifts from the Hind family and the Patterson Barclay Foundation are especially important to our ultimate success. The team and I are extremely grateful.”
Among other things, these latest donations will help Roy fund a new postdoctoral researcher position in his laboratory to further accelerate the pace of the project.
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