Philanthropists Give $3.25 Million to Support Heart Disease Research

The gift will create the Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy at UC San Diego

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In an effort to improve the lives of those diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson have gifted $3.25 million to University of California San Diego Health Sciences to open a new research center geared toward creating novel treatment options that will slow or halt the progression of heart disease.

The Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy will be the first cardiomyopathy center in San Diego, providing leading research and treatment in the region. With a tripartite mission, the center will focus on developing critical insights into the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of cardiomyopathy; restoring the health and wellbeing of those with heart failure; and educating future generations of clinicians and scientists, with a commitment to providing world-class care in a diverse and inclusive environment.

“UC San Diego is a leader in the treatment of cardiovascular disease,” said Steven Strauss, attorney and philanthropist. “Lise and I felt it was important to establish a cardiomyopathy center at UC San Diego to support Dr. Adler’s research and redefine the treatment for this little known, and potentially deadly, heart disease.”

Eric Adler, MD, is a professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and medical director of the heart transplant program and mechanical circulatory support at UC San Diego Health.

In addition to the $3.25 million gift, an additional $1.75 million will be raised by UC San Diego for a total pledge amount for the center of $5 million.

“Steven and Lise’s commitment is helping UC San Diego researchers find life-saving options,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Their investment in the work of Dr. Adler is a powerful example of how philanthropists can make a transformative difference in countless lives.”

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle and encompasses a variety of health conditions. Often undiagnosed, approximately 1 in 500 people in the United States have cardiomyopathy. It affects people of all ages, genders and races. Treatment is available to support individuals with the disease, but there is no cure and often patients will eventually require heart transplant.

“Unfortunately, we cannot solve this problem with our current medications or cardiac transplant, and new tools are desperately needed to identify the disease and develop therapies,” said Adler. “This gift will help ensure the long-term success of our center and its research, as well as the creation of innovative treatments led by a team committed to excellence in cardiomyopathy care so we can transform this field of medicine.”

The center will operate from UC San Diego School of Medicine and within the Cardiovascular Institute at UC San Diego Health. There, leading scientists, cardiologists and researchers will collaborate to identify tools needed for diagnosis and prevention, develop new treatment options and clinical trials, and train the next generation of researchers in the field.

“Dr. Adler’s work is at the leading edge of cardiomyopathy research,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of UC San Diego Health Sciences. “When you put together the expertise of a physician-scientist like Dr. Adler with the vision and generosity of people like Steven and Lise, it’s a powerful combination.”

As part of the only academic health system in San Diego, the Cardiovascular Institute at UC San Diego Health is a hub of discovery and innovation. “We’re thinking about world-class care for patients today, but we’re also thinking about tomorrow and how we can continue to innovate and provide the next generation of treatment for patients in need,” said Adler. “And it’s all right here in San Diego at UC San Diego Health, where the best-in-class treatment is backed by pioneering research.”



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