Wishes Granted



The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation has awarded a $3 million grant over the next three years to Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) investigators in support of VICC's drug discovery program. The grant will enable VICC researchers to pursue the development of new compounds to block the activity of cancer-causing genes and proteins that had previously been considered "undruggable."

In late August, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee donated $15,000 to the Jefferson Street United Merchants Partnership (JUMP) to support community revitalization and the creation of murals that depict healthy lifestyles.

Research in the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD) aimed at developing innovative new treatments for schizophrenia has received a powerful assist from The William K. Warren Foundation, which recently announced it will increase its support by another $1 million as VCNDD's game-changing schizophrenia program approaches the point at which candidate drugs will be selected for testing in clinical trials. Two previous awards from the foundation have totaled $7.25 million since 2014.

Not-for-profit behavioral health provider Centerstone recently received its sixth renewal grant, totaling $6,060,000 over the next three years, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The grant will fund the fifth through seventh years of Centerstone's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), which aids low-income veterans and their families in transitioning to permanent housing. The SSVF team has helped address the needs of more than 3,000 veterans and their families across 40 Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky counties.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has received an $11 million program project renewal grant from the NHLBI to study the genetics and underlying biological mechanisms that lead to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which causes the lung tissue to become thick and stiff over time. With limited treatment options available, survival is currently three to five years after diagnosis.

Anton Reiner, PhD, and Tayebeh Pourmotabbed, PhD of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) have received a $418,000 grand from NINDS to research a possible new gene therapy treatment approach for Huntington's disease (HD). In other news, the Social Security Administration recently updated the medical criteria for evaluating HD, which should make it easier for families with HD to access SSA benefits more quickly.

Fu-Ming Zhou, PhD, of UTHSC has received a grant totaling $1.66 million from the NINDS to study the role of dopamine as it relates to Parkinson's disease.