Hope for Life

 

The Stowers Institute for Medical Research is built on the desire to offer hope - hope for people whose genes condemn them to a long battle with cancer; hope for parents who wake in the night to tend a diabetic child, then toss and turn as they wonder what the future holds for their son or daughter; hope for adult children who see parents sliding into the lost land of Alzheimer’s and wonder if they will ever find their way out.

On the surface, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cardiac disease and birth defects have little in common, yet they are all caused by abnormalities in basic cellular and molecular processes, such as chromosome segregation or gene expression. Stowers investigators seek to discover how specific genes are controlled and expressed—how they are turned on and off—by factors both external and internal to the organism. They analyze how genes and proteins control virtually all biological processes, from cell division to cell differentiation; from processing smells to storing fat; from generating memories to regenerating missing body parts.

In the past, understanding how viruses and bacteria infect the human body and cause disease enabled society to conquer many severe diseases, which had plagued people for centuries including polio, diphtheria, smallpox and pneumonia. Today, biomedical research focuses on diseases that result from failures of basic molecular mechanisms within cells and tissues, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, kidney disease and some forms of diabetes.

These modern scourges may be prevented, cured or delayed if scientists understand the fundamental process underlying their progression. The Stowers Institute for Medical Research promises to make a major contribution to this important bank of knowledge.