Duke receives $1.3 million for immune deficiency research
A Raleigh family has given $1.3 million to support Duke Medicine researchers who are targeting a group of diseases that compromise the immune system and increase the risk of infectious diseases and lymphoma.
The gift from Charles and Daneen Stiefel will support research that focuses on Common Variable Immune Deficiency. Patients with this condition have low levels of infection-fighting antibodies, leaving them more prone to illness and facing 10 times the risk of developing lymphoma, a blood cancer that begins in white blood cells, according to a Duke release.
“The Stiefel family’s support for research of this type helps advance our knowledge and furthers our mission of transforming medicine through innovation and discovery,” said Victor J. Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and CEO of the Duke University Health System, in a statement. “Advances in patient care come about only through research like this, and we are very grateful to Charlie and Daneen.”
New Duke research will further explore the mutations that lead to CVID in an effort to improve the ability of physicians to promptly and accurately diagnose the disease.
A lack of good diagnostic tests means people with CVID sometimes go undiagnosed for months or years, leading to unnecessary suffering and, in some instances, premature death.
The gift will contribute to the progress of Duke Forward, the $3.25 billion Duke University-wide fundraising campaign launched last September. Duke Medicine has a campaign goal of $1.2 billion for “Medicine that Changes the World.”
Charles Stiefel serves on the Duke Medicine Board of Visitors.
“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,” Charles said in a statement
Charles was chairman and CEO of Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., a family-owned specialty dermatology company founded in 1847. He joined the company as general counsel in 1982 and was subsequently named vice president and then president. Stiefel Laboratories was the world’s largest privately held pharmaceutical company specializing in dermatological products, with nearly 4,000 employees in 30 countries, before it was sold to GlaxoSmithKline in 2009 for $3.6 billion, according to the release.
Charles was born in Catskill, N.Y. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Yale University and a law degree from Albany Law School. In addition to being a member of the Duke Medicine Board of Visitors, he serves on the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors and the North American Clinical Dermatologic Society Board of Directors, among other professional memberships.
Daneen Stiefel is a graduate of Douglass College who has worked as a psychiatric social worker, child protective caseworker, elementary school teacher, travel agent and meeting planner. Most recently she served as vice president of travel, meetings and conventions at Stiefel Laboratories.
The Stiefels have two children, one of whom is a Duke University alumnus.