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Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute receives donation to fuel COVID-19 research

One of the challenges facing scientists during the COVID-19 pandemic is stable funding

June 25, 2020  by CM Staff

A scientist works in the robotics lab at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. PHOTO: Sinai Health Foundation

TORONTO — Philanthropists Larry and Judy Tanenbaum have made a donation of $1 million to fuel COVID-19 research at Sinai Health’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI). Their gift will be used to match all new donations to the LTRI for COVID-19 and other related research.

The LTRI ranks in the top 1% of global academic institutions in molecular and cell biology. A number of its researchers are discovering how to identify and treat COVID-19, including looking at how the virus spreads and exploring new drug therapies.

“Larry and Judy Tanenbaum are visionary supporters of research,” said Louis de Melo, CEO of Sinai Health Foundation, in a prepared statement. “Thanks to their generosity, LTRI is at the forefront of a significant number of advances and treatments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

One of the challenges facing scientists during the COVID-19 pandemic is stable funding.

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“Philanthropists have an essential role to play in combating the historic health challenge of COVID-19,” said Larry Tanenbaum in a prepared statement. “Sinai Health’s researchers are some of the best and brightest minds in the world. We are proud to fuel their scientific discovery because they in turn are our best hope for future treatments and cures.”

Andras Nagy, senior scientist at LTRI, is working on getting his lab up and running after the pandemic resulted in many being shut down. He’s exploring the use of cells to secrete antibodies that block viral infection as a promising way to treat and possibly prevent COVID-19.

“This funding will allow us to assemble a toolkit, which was designed to support cell therapy cures for degenerative diseases, and apply it towards infectious diseases,” Nagy said in a statement. “COVID-19 has become a powerful catalyst to find new ways to eradicate epidemics and pandemics, even those for which vaccines have not been developed or failed.”

In 2013, the Tanenbaums gave a $35 million gift in support of research at Mount Sinai Hospital. This has helped propel LTRI into a globally leading research institute attracting world-leading researchers and infrastructure.