NEW YORK – In
support of continued collaboration researching the use of stem cell technology
to treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Detroit philanthropist A. Alfred
Taubman has donated $300,000 to Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of
America. Taubman is known for his
ongoing support of stem cell research, and was honored October 5 with the Stem
Cell Action Award by the Genetics Policy Institute, during the 2010 World Stem
Cell Summit in Detroit.
Taubman’s gift supports collaborative research between Dr.
Benjamin Reubinoff, Director of the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center
at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, and Dr. Eva Feldman, Director of the
A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan. Since 2009, the two researchers have
been working together to study stem cell therapy in the treatment of ALS. Hadassah is a partner in the Taubman
Institute-Israel Initiative, which brings together medical researchers at the
University of Michigan and in Israel.
With the help of Taubman’s gift, the international team will
apply the latest embryonic stem cell technology to develop in test tubes human
tissue containing the genetic defects for ALS, in order to mimic the conditions
in which ALS occurs. The goal is
to create human models of ALS on which the doctors can test new treatments.
“When I discussed Reubinoff’s research with him a few years
ago, I was immediately impressed and felt it critical that I do what I could to
support his groundbreaking work in stem cell research,” Taubman said. “We are fortunate to have a climate in
Michigan that welcomes and encourages embryonic stem cell research, and the
powerful combination of Reubinoff’s and Feldman’s medical minds, backed by the
prestige of the Hadassah Medical Center and the University of Michigan, has the
potential to seriously impact medical history.”
The Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah has worked on
Hadassah’s behalf to support medical research at a local level. Its members co-sponsored an event for
Reubinoff and Feldman and University of Michigan leaders following Reubinoff’s
initial visit to Michigan, when he presented the second annual A. Alfred
Taubman Lectureship on his work in January 2009.
“Supporting advanced medical research is at the core of
Hadassah’s mission,” said Nancy Falchuk, Hadassah’s National President. “Stem cell research has the potential
to be at the forefront of medical progress. We are grateful for Mr. Taubman’s generous gift facilitating
Dr. Reubinoff’s and Dr. Feldman’s critical work in this field.”
Alfred Taubman, founder of real estate development company
Taubman Centers, founded the Taubman Institute at the University of Michigan in
2007, with a gift of $22 million. The funds are part of more than $60 million
Taubman has given to the university.