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Charles Butt Gives Additional $1 Million to IMM
Combined gifts now total $3 million toward Research Center for Metabolic Diseases
Charles Butt, chairman of H-E-B, has committed another $1 million to The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM) to help fight diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
This gift, combined with his personal gift of $1 million in 2004 and H-E-B's $1 million contribution in 2002, will be devoted to the Research Center for Metabolic Diseases at the IMM.
"We are greatly appreciative to Charles Butt and H-E-B for their extraordinary generosity and dedication to the health of the people of Texas. Their generosity will help us recruit additional outstanding scientists, capable of discovering the genetic and proteomic mechanisms behind metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, lipid disorders and others," said James T. Willerson, M.D., president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and founder of the IMM. "Diabetes and obesity are growing epidemics in our country that affect millions of people. We are making strides every day in our quest to treat, care for and prevent these types of illnesses.
"The research center investigates diseases like obesity and non-insulin dependent or adult onset diabetes."
Nearly 21 million children and adults in the United States - 7 percent of the population - have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. More than 1 million reside in Texas, though the state's health department estimates there are an additional 500,000 undiagnosed cases.
Diabetes, a disease in which the body lacks the ability to properly use sugar from the blood, often compromises the immune system and can lead to other complications like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease and blindness.
Through the human genetics research center, IMM scientists already have identified genes that contribute to the risk of developing non-insulin dependent (type II) diabetes. Dr. Willerson said they also plan to explore the potential of stem cells to treat type I diabetes mellitus, or juvenile diabetes.
Charles Butt is a native Texan and a member of the UT Health Science Center Development Board. "Each time I come into contact with the leadership of the health science center, I am energized by the optimism they express about conquering these diseases that have plagued Texans for so long and continue to be issues for our state today," he said.
Like its chairman, H-E-B has a keen interest in the state's health care needs. "We serve all income areas, and metabolic diseases have a major impact throughout, so it is particularly heartening to see people of the health science center's caliber targeting this area of research so aggressively," he said.
Headquartered in the historic U.S. Arsenal for Western Texas (1857) in San Antonio, H-E-B employs 60,000 people and has more than 300 stores in more than 150 communities across Texas and Mexico, including eight Central Market locations in Texas. In 2005, the grocery chain celebrated its 100-year anniversary. Through its pharmacies, the supermarket chain provides disease management programs in a number of Texas cities to help individuals in local communities monitor and treat chronic conditions like diabetes.
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