UC San Diego received a $1.6 million gift from William J. Wolfe and his family to establish the Wolfe Lupus Research Fund at the school, officials said Thursday.
Dr. Kenneth Kalunian, a professor at UCSD School of Medicine and director of the UCSD Lupus Center, will hold the title of Wolfe Family Director.
“UC San Diego is home to one of only a handful of lupus centers around the country,” Kalunian said in a statement. “We are so grateful for this generous gift from Bill Wolfe and his family, which will further support the center’s excellence and allow us to expand our efforts in finding innovative treatments for lupus, caring for patients suffering from the devastating disease and continuing to build a network of researchers and patients who are working together to combat this condition.”
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect a host of different body parts including skin, joints and a variety of organs.
According to a UCSD statement, Wolfe and his family are no strangers to the effects of lupus. His daughter, Jacqueline, has suffered from a particularly challenging case of the condition, requiring multiple hospital stays.
“My daughter has tried over 50 different medications. She has spent weeks in the intensive care unit,” Wolfe said. “She is stable now, and it is in large part because Dr. Kalunian refused to give up. My hope is that this will provide support so that UC San Diego can provide that same excellent care for more lupus patients from around the country.”
In addition to providing discretionary funds to support lupus research, Wolfe’s gift will also provide funding for a full-time clinical patient services manager dedicated to responding to the needs of lupus patients and support the recruitment of an early-career faculty clinician focused on lupus.
“Lupus is a complicated disease,” said Wolfe. “The immune system is one of the most complex systems that runs throughout the body. When you have an overactive immune system from lupus, it is unlike many other conditions for which doctors have a direct line of treatment. Because of this, lupus patients need an enormous amount of medical care and close communication with their physician and medical team.”
UCSD will host a symposium focused on lupus on Oct. 14. For more information, visit https://medschool.ucsd.edu/som/medicine/divisions/rai/research/lupuscenter/Page s/default.aspx.