UMass Medical Receives $10M Gift for Rare Disease Institute

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The world of rare disease saw a big win yesterday after a Chinese business man contributed $10M toward a new institute for rare disease.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School is establishing the institute that will research and find cures to the world’s wide array of unheard of diseases.

The handsome donation came from the Li Weibo Charitable Foundation in China. Li Weibo is a big supporter of biomedical research and education. He proved it by donating half of his wealth to the foundation along with $750,000 toward annual scholarships.

Weibo has been repeatedly impressed by the scientific breakthroughs going on in the world and wanted to be a part of the history making.

“In the global scientific research field, quantum leaps in biomedical and human health research will be made in the near future,” Weibo said. “My goal is to participate in and promote biomedical research.”

It’s been a good recent months for local schools in Massachusetts. Weibo’s charitable gift was the crescendo after several other donations were given to Massachusetts schools, like $140M toward MIT and $12.5M toward Harvard Business School.

It has been UMass’s mission to better the world through scientific progress and with this institute, they are taking a giant leap forward.

It will be called the Li Weibo Institute for Rare Diseases Research and they will continue to research gene therapy, RNA biology and RNAI technology. Many of the schools staff are already deeply involved in ALS, cystic fibrosis, Canavan disease, Rett syndrome, Huntington’s disease, fragile X syndrome, CDKL5 disorder and others. Click here to read more about these diseases.

UMass Medical School has a long history in medical achievements. This was the place where Professor Craig Mello won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine after he uncovered RNA interference. It’s also the place where the gene therapy organization Voyager Therapeutics was born. Boston and Cambridge are known to many as a place where biotech and rare disease history is made.

Spearheading the institute will be microbiology professor Guangping Gao and cancer biology professor Michael Green. They stand on the shoulders of scientific giants. Now let’s see if anyone wins a Nobel Prize or better yet, finds a cure for cancer.


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