Mount Sinai Creates The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Cardiovascular Translational Research Center

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Mount Sinai a $25 million grant for heart disease research.

New York, NY
 – August 11, 2010 /Press Release/  –– 

The Mount Sinai Medical Center has been awarded a $25 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to establish The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Cardiovascular Translational Research Center. The Helmsley Center, which will comprise The Helmsley Molecular Research Center and The Helmsley Clinical Investigation Center, will further advance Mount Sinai as a leader of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

"For the past several years, Mount Sinai has established itself as a leader in cardiovascular health," said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and CEO of The Mount Sinai Medical Center. "With the support of the Helmsley Trust, we are in a position to truly excel in research and to have a direct impact on patient care. The breakthroughs – both scientific and clinical – that the Helmsley Center will foster will usher in a new era for Mount Sinai Heart."

The Helmsley Center will use sophisticated gene therapy to repair damaged heart muscle, employ genetic tests to screen patients for risk assessment, and perform clinical trials to provide innovative patient therapies. The Center will accelerate the development of new drugs, devices, and protocols. Clinical trials will also allow promising interventions to move more quickly to the market and to the patient bedside.

"Heart disease is the disease of modern times," said Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Director of Mount Sinai Heart, the Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Cardiovascular Health. "This gift will allow Mount Sinai to gain a critical understanding of the leading cause of death among women."

By integrating basic science research and clinical trials, The Helmsley Center will ensure that patients have access to the most innovative translational care. The Helmsley Molecular Research Center, under the direction of Roger Hajjar, MD, will seek to understand congestive heart failure at the molecular level, target faulty genes, and use gene therapy to repair damaged muscle. The Helmsley Molecular Research Center will occupy a full floor of the state-of-the-art Center for Science and Medicine, currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2012.

The Helmsley Clinical Investigation Center, directed by Dr. Fuster and fueled by the basic science discoveries of Dr. Hajjar’s laboratory, will launch many clinical trials. One key area of research is the Freedom Trial, which examines new approaches for diabetic diseases. Since 85 percent of patients with diabetes also have heart disease, and patients with diabetes have both vascular differences and chemical differences in their blood when compared to other patients, it is vital to take a unique approach to their treatment. The Helmsley Trust grant will enable completion of The Freedom Trial, a five-year study that compares intervention with drug-eluting stents to the traditional coronary artery bypass surgery to determine which procedure works best specifically for patients with diabetes. This study will allow clinicians to understand the most effective treatment options for cardiovascular disease in diabetes patients.

This major grant follows earlier gifts totaling $37.5 million from The Helmsley Trust in 2009 to support Mount Sinai Heart and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

About The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Trust, established in 1999, is administered by five Trustees selected by Leona Helmsley as a continuation of Mr. and Mrs. Helmsley’s generous giving through their lifetimes. The Trust supports a diverse range of organizations with a major focus on health and medical research, in addition to programs in human services, education and conservation. The Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits. To date, the Trust has made more than $320 million in grant commitments to charitable organizations across the United States and abroad.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The school received the 2009 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation’s top 20 hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place.

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