Large donation for research into the human immune system
9 March 2023
Thanks to a gift from an American donor to Uppsala University, Sweden, research into immune reactions in cases of transplantation, autoimmunity and cancer will receive a major boost. The donation, totalling USD 4.5 million, will increase opportunities to develop new treatment strategies in this vital area over the long term.
“We are very grateful for this generous and welcome boost to a critical field of medicine. It is precisely these types of long-term and independent resources for basic research which lay the foundation for discoveries that can then be translated into applications for the benefit of our world,” notes Vice-Chancellor Anders Hagfeldt.
With certain diseases, the patient's own immune system must be held back for a treatment to work. Immunosuppression is therefore regularly used in areas such as transplantation and autoimmune disease to prevent destructive immune reactions. In the long run, however, this often leads to the patient facing other health risks related to the weakening of the immune system.
The aim of the project supported by the donation is to develop new and more targeted strategies to modulate the immune system's response to different diseases over the long term.
“The research will focus in understanding how variants of certain antibodies can strengthen the body's ability to handle immune reactions in diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity and in transplants,” notes Associate Professor David Berglund, who leads the project.
The donation was provided by Pablo Legorreta, who is the founder, CEO and Chairman, of the American company Royalty Pharma (plc). Mr. Legorreta has extensive experience in collaboration with academic research including the creation of the Legorreta Cancer center at Brown University.
Mr. Legorreta has over 25 years of experience investing in pharmaceutical royalties and building and managing a rapidly growing life sciences investment company that is one of the largest dedicated life sciences investors in the world. Mr. Legorreta has extensive experience in collaboration with academic research including the creation of the Legorreta Cancer center at Brown University. Mr Legorreta is also the main sponsor of Dr. David Sach’s research program in xenotransplantation at Columbia University. He also sits on the board of Trustees of Rockefeller University, Brown University, the Hospital for Special Surgery, Pasteur Foundation (US), Open Medical Institute and Park Avenue Armory.
David Berglund received his doctorate at Uppsala University in 2014 for a thesis on immune regulation in connection with organ transplantation. He currently holds a position of Associate Professor at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University, Sweden.