has announced a gift of $1.3 million from Charles and Daneen Stiefel in support of research focused on a group of diseases that compromise the immune system and increase the risk of infectious diseases and lymphoma.
Made as part of the university's $3.25 billion capital campaign, the gift will support new research conducted by 's Patricia Lugar and Sandeep Dave into the genetic mechanisms that contribute to common variable immune deficiency (CVID). Patients with the condition have low levels of infection-fighting antibodies, leaving them more susceptible to illness and facing a greater risk of developing lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Building on their previous research, Lugar and Dave aim to further explore the mutations that lead to CVID and improve physcians' ability to promptly and accurately diagnose the disease.
Charles Stiefel is the former chairman and CEO of , a family-owned specialty dermatology company founded in 1847 that was sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2009. In addition to being a member of the , Steifel serves on the 's board of visitors and the North American Clinical Dermatologic Society Board of Directors. Daneen Stiefel is a Douglass College alumna and most recently served as vice president of travel, meetings, and conventions at Stiefel Labs. The Steifels have two children, one of whom is a Duke University alumnus.
"Given that most of my career was spent in the pharmaceutical industry, I have always been extremely interested in medical research, particularly in the areas of cancer and immune disorders, both of which have negatively impacted my family directly," said Charles Stiefel. "I was extremely pleased with the data generated by Dr. Lugar and Dr. Dave, which have resulted in several important publications in scientific and medical journals. Consequently, Daneen and I wanted to maintain the momentum by funding the next phase of their research, which will not only elucidate further our understanding of the specific genetic mutations that cause CVID, but will hopefully also uncover new ways to treat this disease."