Hope for Pulmonary Diseases From Regenerative Treatment? A Funder Hopes So

Pulmonary diseases are about the worst imaginable. There’s cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis—all of them absolutely wretched diseases with no known cures, and to make things worse, there isn’t exactly a wealth of empathy and concern for folks with these diseases. Awareness and advocacy organizations simply don’t occupy the same places in peoples’ hearts as the American Heart Association, or the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

But now, as the rise of genomic medicine shines a light on diseases and disorders for which tissue regeneration is the only possible hope for treatment, it seems these pulmonary diseases may be set to benefit from this technology. The Hastings Foundation just awarded a $7.5 million gift to establish a pulmonary research center at Keck Medicine of USC.

The Hastings Center for Pulmonary Research will bring together basic and translational researchers and clinicians to create a nationally recognized center for advanced lung disease. It’ll build on existing collaborations within and outside Keck Medicine, such as those with researchers and investigators at the USC Clinical Center for Advanced Lung Disease and Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. The center’s key focus will be on lung injury, repair, and regeneration.

"We expect this generous gift from the Hastings Foundation will help us greatly enhance pulmonary research and clinical medicine at Keck Medicine of USC," said Zea Borok, chief, division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at Keck Medicine. "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."