We have been working with the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles on Retinoblastoma research, an innovative Research Accelerator, and establishing the Linn Murphree Chair aimed at making groundbreaking scientific discoveries.
Retinoblastoma has been referred to as the Rosetta Stone for cancer and has been implicated in over half of all human cancers. It arises from mutations in the retinoblastoma gene, RB1, which releases the cell from its normal tight regulation, so it is free to divide and grow into a tumor. Children who harbor this mutation can acquire multiple tumors in the retina leading to blindness and even removal of the eye.
Through the pioneering work of Dr. Linn Murphree, we know that mutation of the RB1 gene can initiate a process that ultimately leads to a malignant tumor; however, the subsequent steps necessary to complete this transformation remain unclear. In order to identify new treatments and ultimately a cure, it is imperative to understand these downstream events. This will only come through focused research.
The Moh Foundation is proud to support the groundbreaking work of Dr. David Cobrinik, MD/PhD who leads the genetic research team at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. His work has begun to unravel the complex sequence of cellular changes that allow the initial RB1 mutation to give rise to the cellular chaos seen in aggressive cancers. His work has been published in the journal Nature and was credited in a lead editorial for fundamentally changing how to model cancer and study it from its inception. It is through this work that TMF hopes to find a cure that will be relevant for retinoblastoma and many of the other human cancers that involve mutation of the RB1 gene.
Most startups fail due to running out of money and resources rather than the absence of potential in the company. Similarly, many medical research programs lose steam because of lack of resources and time, especially the time of the lead physician, who is usually balancing time devoted to research and time in the clinic.
To curb this trend in high tech startups, accelerated incubators such as Y-Combinator focus on ensuring the sustainable progress and success of growing companies by providing advisors/mentors, sufficient funds, and other crucial resources needed for a thriving startup. In fact, 90% of startups launched at Y-Combinator are still operating today.
The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, partnering with The Moh Foundation, looked to neighboring Silicon Valley for inspiration by creating a medical research incubator. This incubator follows a similar structure to that of a high tech startup incubator and focuses on accelerating progress and boosting research productivity. The CHLA Vision Center’s research accelerator creates a supportive environment, one which encourages innovation to its physicians as well as providing them with the tools and resources they need to make groundbreaking scientific discoveries in a much shorter period.
This incubator will follow a similar structure to that of a high tech startup incubator and will focus on accelerating progress and boosting research productivity.
A LINN MURPHREE CHAIR+
Retinoblastoma is a unique cancer that has opened the window into the genetic basis for how tumors are formed. The Moh Foundation has made Retinoblastoma research and prevention one of its most important projects, investing in research teams and multiple initiatives to combat and cure this childhood eye cancer.
The foundation established the A. Linn Murphree Retinoblastoma chair at the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in honor of Dr. Murphree, a pioneer in the diagnosis and management of this devastating disease. This funding will allow Dr. Jonathan Kim, the appointed chair, and his team to dedicate their efforts to finding new ways to diagnose and treat children afflicted with this devastating disease. It will also be the first endowed chair in the world devoted to curing retinoblastoma.
This development continues the work of legendary Dr. A Linn Murphree, who established the retinoblastoma center at CHLA over 30 years ago, and will lead to more groundbreaking discoveries about this rare childhood cancer.
The Moh Foundation has made Retinoblastoma research and prevention one of its most important projects, investing in research teams and multiple initiatives to combat and cure this childhood eye cancer.