Philanthropist Denny Sanford has made huge contributions to advancing biomedical research including $70 million to the Sanford Burnham Institute in La Jolla and $30 million to the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.
Now Sanford has donated the whopping sum of $100 million to advance stem cell research at UCSD according to the San Diego Union Tribune (photo at right from the paper).
Stem cells have great promise to positively change our world through transforming medicine, but stem cell research is very expensive. Ideas are the key to advancing stem cell research to help patients, but the fuel to make those ideas a reality is, for better or worse, funding. The Union Tribune says the gift had its origins from conversations between Sanford had on his porch with Larry Goldstein, who directs the UCSD Stem Cell Program. Personal connections and communication between the diverse stakeholders in the stem cell field are the key to advancing research.
The tremendous new gift from Sanford will fund a new Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UCSD, enabling the hiring of up to a couple dozen new scientists and the starting of new clinical trials.
The Union Tribune article quotes Sanford:
“It is time to move stem cell research from animals into humans for trials, especially in areas like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and spinal cord injuries, where I believe we can make a lot of progress” said Sanford, 77, a billionaire who amassed a fortune as the owner of major credit-card companies.
I really admire the efforts of Sanford, who I view as a person who changes the world for the better. I am honored to be sharing the awards stage with Sanford at this year’s World Stem Cell Summit, where Sanford will receive the GPI Leadership Award along with Malin Burnham.