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The Feinberg family takes a hands-on approach to their philanthropy at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After Peter Feinberg’s diagnosis of colon cancer at age 29 and upon learning that a cancer-predisposing gene mutation runs in their family, the Feinbergs set out to change future outcomes—and, in turn, revolutionize treatment and care around a condition called Lynch syndrome.

Winfried Edelmann, PhD
Winfried Edelmann, PhD
Professor, Department of Cell Biology
Professor, Department of Genetics
The Joseph and Gertrud Buchler Chair in Transgenic Medicine
Faculty Supervisor, Gene Modification, Gene Targeting and Transgenic Facilities
Lynch syndrome is among the most common hereditary cancer-predisposing disorders and significantly increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer. “It’s not that rare,” says Peter Feinberg. “Some two to three percent of colon cancer patients carry the Lynch gene. We want those who have this syndrome to know that they have it and to help them deal with it.” The condition is often inherited through family lineage or caused by a change in certain genes that are not inherited. Such mutations are still somewhat of a mystery to researchers.

Einstein’s Winfried Edelmann, PhD, is determined to change that. Thanks to philanthropic support from the Feinberg family, Dr. Edelmann developed a Lynch syndrome mouse model designed to unlock answers. The model identifies MMR-deficient cells, understood as one of the chief genetic instabilities associated with colorectal cancer, leading to the potential for new therapies—including a vaccine. An introduction from the Feinberg family led to Dr. Edelmann forming a strong partnership with Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez, MD, PhD, at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Drs. Edelmann and Vilar-Sanchez align research and share findings—all in the name of expediting life-changing outcomes.

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