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Gift Will Establish F. Widjaja Inflammatory Bowel Disease Institute

F. Widjaja Foundation Expands Support for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Treatment at Cedars-Sinai

Cedars-Sinai has established the F. Widjaja Inflammatory Bowel Disease Institute to expand groundbreaking research and improve clinical care through a generous gift from the F. Widjaja Foundation.

The foundation has long championed research into inflammatory bowel disease and immunobiology at Cedars-Sinai, an international leader in the science and treatment of IBD, a major gastrointestinal disorder that afflicts millions of people worldwide.

  “This gift from the F. Widjaja Foundation continues years of its extraordinary philanthropy in advancing medical science and the care ofShlomo Melmed, MB, ChB patients faced with challenging illnesses,” said Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB, executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the Medical Faculty at Cedars-Sinai. “We are deeply grateful for the foundation’s strongest support and partnership as we continue to confront the daily challenges faced by people with inflammatory bowel disorders.”

  Cedars-Sinai has a longstanding partnership with the Widjaja family. Their generous support has helped to advance research on gastrointestinal intestinal tract biology and champion the discovery of more effective and compassionate treatments for patients faced with debilitating intestine-related diseases. This new gift underscores the Widjaja’s commitment and significantly enriches the scope of meaningful clinical investigation and patient care, fundamentally changing the landscape of IBD research at Cedars-Sinai.

  “Transforming care for a complex disorder like inflammatory bowel disease requires the synergistic interaction of clinicians and basic and translational scientists at the cutting edge of their disciplines,” said Stephan Targan, MD, director of the new institute, distinguished professor of medicine and the Feintech Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Cedars-Sinai. “Leveraging these invaluable professionals with the most robust infrastructure will allow us to execute a vision for precision medicine that benefits our patients with better treatments. With this gift, the F. Widjaja Foundation has immeasurably advanced the field on a global scale.”

  The F. Widjaja Inflammatory Bowel Disease Institute will bolster research and care initiatives through a multidisciplinary team of physicians, surgeons and scientists in the Cedars-Sinai Karsh Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and in the departments of Pediatrics, Surgery, Pathology, Computational Biomedicine and Biomedical Sciences as well as in the Burns and Allen Research Institute’s innovation and core services. From discovering biomarkers that identify the very beginnings of intestinal diseases to expanding surgery programs that offer more precise surgical solutions, investigators and clinicians in the new institute will have the resources to accelerate key initiatives that improve the health of patients at Cedars-Sinai and beyond.

  The institute is based on an integrated science model and comprises distinct yet highly interactive components, including drug discovery,Gastro Best Hospitals 2022 Badge adult and pediatric care, basic science research, and genetics and genomics research. The institute maintains the most comprehensive IBD biobank worldwide, with data from 20,000 individuals who have participated in Cedars-Sinai inflammatory bowel disease studies.

 Cedars-Sinai is home to the #1 Gastroenterology and GI Surgery program in California and the #2 program in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 “Best Hospitals” rankings. The generosity of donors, including the Widjaja family and the Karsh Family Foundation, has enabled investigators and physicians to pioneer new treatments for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

The family said they are proud to support this critically important work at Cedars-Sinai.

“If our family can improve the quality of life of patients in need, we are humbled and grateful that we can extend that help,” they said. “We are deeply committed to supporting innovation at Cedars-Sinai.”

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Is it IBS or IBD?