Colorado State University in Fort Collins has announced a $42.5 million gift from cable television executive John C. Malone and his wife, Leslie, to develop regenerative medical therapies for animals and people.
The gift, the largest cash gift in the university's history, will launch the CSU Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies, which will work to find next-generation remedies for musculoskeletal disease and other ailments based on living cells and cell products, including patient-derived stem cells. To that end, the institute hopes to leverage the expertise of CSU veterinarians to develop medical treatments for animal patients and then translate that knowledge into medical advances for humans. The Malones' gift will provide $10 million for the institute's operations and $32.5 million to match donations for a new building that will feature laboratories, specialized surgical suites, and conference space.
The gift was inspired in part by stem-cell treatments the Malones' world-class dressage horses have received at Colorado State's Orthopaedic Research Center. In 2013, the couple donated $6 million to endow the Leslie A. Malone Presidential Chair in Equine Sports Medicine in support of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries in performance horses. The couple then focused on the center's work with biological therapies, which, used alone and/or in combination with minimally invasive surgery, could provide more effective and longer-lasting treatment for equine athletes and people with osteoarthritis and orthopedic injuries.
"We think this whole area of research is very exciting in what it portends for humans and animals," said John Malone. "When you say, 'Who’s in the best position to do something about this?' — to take cutting-edge research and apply it pragmatically to the problems we see that people and horses are encountering on a day-to-day basis — it became pretty logical. CSU was the right place to go."