The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants More Than $37 Million to The Mount Sinai Medical Center

Funds will support the Helmsley Center for Electrophysiology, establish the Helmsley Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, and establish the Sinai-Helmsley Alliance for Research Excellence Network.

New York, NY
 – April 21, 2009 /Press Release/  –– 

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded more than $37,000,000 to The Mount Sinai Medical Center. Funds will support the Helmsley Center for Electrophysiology, establish the Helmsley Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, and establish the Sinai-Helmsley Alliance for Research Excellence (SHARE) Network.

This generous gift from the Helmsley Foundation represents a major step forward in our long-standing commitment to advance human health through research, innovative clinical care, and education, said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Mount Sinai Heart, a premier center for multidisciplinary care and research for cardiovascular disease at The Mount Sinai Medical Center will receive $25,000,000 to establish the Helmsley Center for Electrophysiology. The first of its kind in the New York region, the Helmsley Center will build upon Mount Sinai’s distinguished tradition of expertise in cardiology to offer world-class, patient-centered electrophysiology care for patients of all ages in state-of-the-art facilities with the most advanced technologies and access to cutting-edge research. Funds from the Trust will be used to provide the capital support for building labs, endowment support for programs and the director, and operating support for start-up and initial operations.

Improving the understanding of electrophysiology – the study of the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues – will be critical to treating the millions of Americans suffering from some form of heart or blood vessel disease. The Helmsley Center will be one of the few programs to commit the level of needed investment in both research and in developing multi-disciplinary, integrated care to address this growing need. The Center will attract and treat patients from New York and across the world, including infants and children, who are afflicted with atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and congestive heart failure.

We are extremely grateful to receive this very generous donation, said Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director of the Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute and the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Cardiovascular Health and the Richard Gorlin, MD/Heart Research Foundation Professor. "For decades, we doctors and researchers have been focused on treatment. Our goal at Mount Sinai is to help promote health and prevent disease. The team we have assembled here will dramatically change the way medical science diagnoses, treats, and even thinks about heart disease."

A grant of $10,000,000 from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust will support the Mount Sinai Medical Center to strengthen and expand its existing inflammatory bowel disease program and to establish the Helmsley Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Mount Sinai. The overarching goal of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Center is to strengthen and expand Mount Sinai’s existing program to foster multidisciplinary collaboration, excellence in research, and rapid translation of the basic science to novel therapies and treatments.

Funding will support priority needs for the Center’s growth and expansion – areas of investment that will have the most significant near- and long-term impact on efforts to find a cure for IBD. These investments include the recruitment of new faculty at the forefront of IBD research along with related support personnel, the retention of existing outstanding faculty through an endowed professorship, and the purchase of enabling equipment and technologies.

Each year, 7,000 patients from all over the world seek treatment at Mount Sinai for the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, said Dr. Lloyd Mayer, Professor and Co-Director of the Immunology Institute, and Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Divisions of Clinical Immunology and Gastroenterology. "Thanks to the generosity of the Helmsley Foundation, Mount Sinai’s program is now in a position to expand on its growth and success to bring about cutting-edge treatments, and to continue honoring its commitment to find a cure for these diseases."

A third grant of $2,259,947 from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust is supporting the Mount Sinai School of Medicine to establish the Sinai-Helmsley Alliance for Research Excellence (SHARE) Network, a systems biology-based multicenter program for integrated studies in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Despite the many advances in the identification of the genes responsible for the increased risk of IBD, there is still little understanding as to how genetic disorders cause, modify, or increase the risk of developing IBD. In response to this need, five major IBD centers in the United States have agreed to participate in a consortium and have made a commitment to sharing of resources, patient information, and data integration using bioinformatics technology. The five institutions that will form the SHARE Network include the Mayo Clinic, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina, and Washington University.

In its first two years, the SHARE Network will establish its leadership and governance structure, establish a methodology for standardized data and tissue collection, and develop targeted SHARE Network projects. The SHARE Network will enable investigators to better understand the causes, pathogenesis, and treatment of IBD through sharing of resources, specialized technology, patient samples, patient information, and data integration.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 50,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic-science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.