UT Southwestern Announces $450 Million Campaign to Accelerate Medical Research


DALLAS--(BW HealthWire)--April 9, 2002--UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas announced today a five-year campaign to raise $450 million for medical research that will help it attract more of the world's leading scientists and clinicians and secure its position at the pinnacle of international biomedical science.

William T. Solomon, chairman of Austin Industries, will serve as chair of the Innovations in Medicine campaign, which is also designed to ensure that North Texas benefits from the biotech revolution. He will lead more than 100 prominent civic and business leaders who have volunteered to serve on the campaign's leadership council.

"I agreed to chair the committee because I believe so strongly in the quality and direction of UT Southwestern and in the importance of this campaign in taking UT Southwestern to the next level," said Solomon, who has been on the board of Southwestern Medical Foundation since 1981.

"Serving on the Foundation's board has better enabled me to track the progress of UT Southwestern and to be able to appreciate the results the scientists and researchers there have attained," he said.

More than $172 million already has been raised toward the $450 million goal, including $1 million from Solomon and his wife through the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Advised Fund at the Dallas Foundation.

Other major gifts include a $25 million distribution from a trust established through the will of Bulah M. Luse, $20 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, $11.7 million from the Harry S. Moss Trust for the Prevention and Cure of Heart Disease, and $7.5 million from Deborah and W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr.

The completion of the Human Genome Project has given scientists the blueprint for human life. Genetic discoveries are yielding new insights into diseases - both common and rare - that afflict millions. Biotechnology - the use of basic-science breakthroughs to create new and better treatments and diagnostic tools - is the growth area of the future, predicts UT Southwestern President Dr. Kern Wildenthal.

Most of the funds raised in the campaign will be directed toward endowments and project support for basic and clinical research on major diseases of special importance, for which breakthroughs are possible over the next few years and decades. These include the following priorities:

-- $86 million for Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders.

Researchers at UT Southwestern are making significant strides

in understanding Alzheimer's. They are also unlocking the

mysteries of Parkinson's, epilepsy, and paralyzing afflictions

such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, ALS (Lou

Gehrig's disease) and spinal injury. Discoveries about genetic

and molecular control of brain-cell function are revealing the

underlying causes of many neurological diseases.

-- $67 million for cancer. UT Southwestern is a leader in

treatment and research for a variety of cancers -- breast,

prostate, ovarian, intestinal, skin and brain, as well as

leukemia, lymphomas and pediatric malignancies. Breakthroughs

on the regulation of cell division and programmed cell death

are providing novel approaches for treatment, and new ways to

predict genetic susceptibility are being developed.

-- $45 million for heart disease and stroke. Today, the world's

most advanced research endeavor on the underlying causes of

heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke

is based at UT Southwestern. The Dallas Heart Disease

Prevention Project is gathering the most comprehensive data

ever assembled on an American population. Work on the genetic

and environmental control of risk factors for cardiovascular

disease is revolutionizing medicine.

-- $45 million for pediatric illnesses, birth defects and

inherited disorders. Knowledge of the genetic code has opened

the way to prevent and cure a host of pediatric diseases. Many

illnesses that strike at an early age have genetic influences

- congenital heart diseases and other birth defects; sickle

cell disease; cystic fibrosis and other pulmonary diseases;

diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus;

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis; and many forms of

pediatric cancers. For these and related diseases, whether

they appear in childhood or later in life, basic and clinical

research is rapidly leading to new strategies for cures and

preventions.

-- $22 million for infectious diseases, immunology and bioterror

defense. UT Southwestern scientists are working aggressively

to develop better vaccines to prevent infections, more potent

medicines to treat them and new ways to neutralize and defeat

biological agents that might be used by terrorists.

-- $50 million for basic genetic and molecular research,

computational biology and biotechnology. With data from the

Human Genome Project, UT Southwestern researchers are poised

to make breakthroughs in molecular research and biotechnology.

To bring order to the ever-expanding data available,

researchers will rely on "computational biology," a burgeoning

field that merges computer science and biomedicine. Many of

the discoveries that will shape our future will be made in

concert with private biotech companies to ensure that our

discoveries are translated as rapidly as possible into

effective and useful products.

-- $135 million for facilities and equipment. The most modern

facilities and the most advanced equipment are essential to

maximize the productivity of research scientists. At the same

time, patients deserve the finest clinical facilities

possible. With these goals in mind, UT Southwestern is

constructing the largest research building ever built for a

Texas university (for which $180 million in governmental funds

has already been obtained) and is planning a new radiation

center for cancer therapy and research and an advanced medical

imaging center. $50 million of the total will be used to

provide state-of-the-art clinical equipment and enhanced

facilities at St. Paul University Hospital and Zale Lipshy

University Hospital.

Of the endowments being sought, $48 million will be designated to recruit and nurture tomorrow's brightest scientific stars. UT Southwestern's Endowed Scholars Program in Medical Science, launched in 1998, was the first program devoted specifically to launching the careers of new assistant professors with exceptional credentials and potential, providing them with a generous research support package for their first four years, as well as offering them the opportunity to work side-by-side with Nobel-caliber mentors. A priority of the Innovations in Medicine campaign is to extend this program beyond the five Scholars who are now recruited each year and ensure UT Southwestern's leadership in clinical and basic science for decades to come.

UT Southwestern's last major capital campaign, the Fund for Molecular Research, completed in 1995, surpassed its $150 million goal by $12 million. At the time it was the largest fund-raising campaign for research ever undertaken by an American medical school and the largest private-donor campaign ever conducted in Dallas.

This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/home-pages/news/.

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CONTACT:

UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas

Roy E. Bode/Philip Schoch, 214/648-3404

philip.schoch@utsouthwestern.edu