Atlanta’s Emory University received a philanthropic gift from Eva and Charles Lipman to advance research in the development of new drugs and a cure for cystic fibrosis (CF).
The gift will greatly contribute to the lab of Eric J. Sorscher, M.D., a GRA Eminent Scholar and Hertz Professor in Cystic Fibrosis Research. The gift was one of the main reasons Sorscher decided to move to Atlanta as part of a joint recruitment initiative led by the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, the Georgia Research Alliance and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).
Sorscher is an internationally known CF researcher, and previously directed the CF Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is now the head of a research program at Emory and Children’s Healthcare, dedicated to advance the scientific knowledge of cystic fibrosis and develop new drugs for the disease. Sorscher is also co-chair of the International CFTR Folding Consortium, a research group focused on understanding how mutations in the CFTR protein lead to the development of CF.
“The emphasis of my laboratory is to advance CF science in the search for a cure for the disease,” Sorscher said in an Emory University news release. “Enormous progress has been made through CF Foundation-funded research in the past several years toward development of new drugs called CFTR modulators, which dramatically help a subset of individuals with CF.
“A goal of our laboratory is to advance new treatments for patients who currently do not benefit from available drugs,” Sorscher said. “These patients have CF gene mutations that are less common, such as the W1282X mutation. The Lipman family contribution will have a substantial impact on that effort over the next three years, and we are very grateful for their support.”
Sorscher’s work is focused on the development of new cell lines to understand the mechanisms of CF that can lead to novel treatments for the disease. His previous work in overseeing drug discovery programs for cystic fibrosis coincides with his new role at Emory, where he will work directly with Dr. Haian Fu, the director of Emory’s Chemical Biology Discovery Center, a screening lab where researchers will analyze the utility of new cell lines and drugs that can target genetic mutations as potential CF treatments.
Sorscher’s recruitment is part of Emory and Children’s Healthcare’s commitment to advance its work as a key contributor to CF research through the Emory-Children’s CF Center, headed by Dr. Nael McCarty, and the recently founded Atlanta CF Research and Development Program, a partnership between Emory, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Georgia Tech, supported by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The Lipman family gift will help advance CF research on the Emory campus as well as at Children’s Healthcare. It will allow them to conduct research on novel treatments for CF and to inspire the wider scientific community to advance research on drug discovery and development of genetic mutations in CF.
“The Lipman family recognized the positive momentum and expertise in our collaborative CF research program,” McCarty said. “We are very appreciative of their support of Dr. Sorscher’s recruitment and their confidence in our Atlanta consortium’s ability to develop groundbreaking new treatments for CF.”