CRI Receives up to $7.5 Million from W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation

June 17, 2013 – Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) will receive up to $7.5 million to be paid over 10 years from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation of the Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) to support faculty recruitment and start-up costs for new physicians and scientists. CRI is a unique joint venture that builds upon the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and the internationally recognized scientific environment of UT Southwestern.

“Funding frontier-advancing projects in medical research was one of Will Caruth Jr.’s main focus areas when he set up the Caruth Foundation at CFT,” said Bobby Lyle, chair of the Caruth Foundation grant committee. “CRI’s vision to create a unique scientific environment that is dedicated to groundbreaking discoveries in pediatric medicine is directly in line with our mission.”

As part of the commitment by Children’s to be a leader in pediatric research, CRI was established in 2011 with a mission to perform transformative biomedical research to better understand the biological basis of disease. CRI, which was founded under the leadership of Christopher Durovich, president and CEO of Children’s Medical Center, in collaboration with UT Southwestern, is funded by Children’s with the support of the community.

“We are grateful to the Caruth Foundation for its commitment to groundbreaking research that will push the frontiers of pediatric medicine and save lives,” said Durovich. “We must relentlessly pursue, discover and apply new knowledge every day for each child we serve. They deserve nothing less.”

CRI currently has more than 40 researchers in three laboratories. It eventually will include 150 scientists in 15 laboratories led by UT Southwestern faculty members.

“Making discoveries that can change scientific fields and yield new strategies for treating disease requires researchers of the highest caliber,” said Sean Morrison, Ph.D., director of CRI. “Thanks to the support of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation, we are recruiting scientists and physicians who can make game-changing discoveries at the interface of regenerative medicine, cancer biology and metabolism to better understand the biological basis of disease.”

Since its founding, CRI researchers have identified a microenvironment in the bone marrow where blood-forming stem cells are maintained, and another that fosters the specialized cells that produce infection-fighting T cells and B cells. Those discoveries could lead to safer and more effective blood-forming stem cell transplants, such as those performed after healthy marrow is destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation treatments for childhood leukemia. The findings also could have implications for treating illnesses associated with a loss of infection-fighting cells, such as HIV and severe combined immunodeficiency, better known as bubble boy disease.

The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation has been a supporter of Children’s Medical Center since 2005. 

About Children’s Research Institute

Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) is a joint venture positioned to build upon the comprehensive clinical expertise of Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and the internationally recognized scientific environment of UT Southwestern Medical Center. CRI’s mission is to perform transformative biomedical research to better understand the biological basis of disease. Established in 2011, CRI is creating interdisciplinary groups of exceptional scientists and physicians to pursue research at the interface of regenerative medicine, cancer biology and metabolism, which together hold unusual potential for discoveries that can yield groundbreaking advances in science and medicine. More information about CRI is available on its website: cri.utsw.edu.