LOS ANGELES—The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and the University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO), a Los Angeles-based nonprofit group that supports medical research concerning the causes, improved treatments for, and the prevention of kidney disease, announced that they have joined together to establish the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
The announcement was made by Carmen A. Puliafito, MD, MBA, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and UKRO President Kenneth Kleinberg.
UKRO made an initial $3.5 million pledge to support the establishment of the center, which will conduct both basic and applied research programs at USC with the goal of becoming a premier national kidney research center (KRC).
Singer and UKRO board member Natalie Cole expressed her enthusiasm for the USC-UKRO partnership at a reception announcing the center.
"So many people have kidney disease and don't know it, and it scares me," said Cole, who suffered kidney failure and received a kidney transplant in 2009. "This is a brilliant move for USC to partner with [UKRO] in this effort, and I'm thrilled this [center] can happen. It's about time."
The center will be operated under the auspices of the Keck School of Medicine's nephrology division, chaired by Vito M. Campese, MD, professor of medicine, who also chairs UKRO's Medical Scientific Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in the planning of the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center.