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Crohn’s Disease

Finding a Cure for Crohn’s Disease

About

Helmsley is the largest private philanthropy focused on Crohn’s disease, a complex, chronic inflammatory bowel disease that impacts more than 2 million people around the world. We are committed to addressing the unmet needs of people living with the disease, investing in research and technologies that will improve care and treatment for patients, and finding a cure.

Collaboration is essential to achieving our goals. We partner with organizations to support new research and ideas, and have built a network of researchers, institutions, and organizations working to find a cure for Crohn’s disease. We encourage our grantees to tap into this network, work together, and share ideas.

Our work focuses on funding in five key and interrelated areas: prevention, disease management, therapeutics, diagnostics, and disease biology.

Pillars

Prevention

Prevention

The causes of Crohn’s disease involve a complex interplay among a patient’s genetic makeup, their immune system, and environmental factors, but the details are poorly understood. We support research to uncover further its root causes and identify how the disease develops.

The number of people living with Crohn’s disease is on the rise globally, particularly in newly industrialized countries across Africa, Asia, and South America, where previously there were few cases. Studying the factors driving this increase could provide important new insights into its causes and identify how the disease develops.

Diet plays a major role in Crohn’s disease. We fund research to better understand the effects of different foods on intestinal health, and on gut microbes, which are known to play a role in the disease, and to guide dietary choices that will benefit patients.

Diagnostics

Diagnostics

Accessible, accurate, non-invasive, and cost-effective diagnostics will enable more precise treatment decisions as well as timely monitoring for people with Crohn’s disease – which can inform further fine-tuning of therapeutic plans. Helmsley funding supports the development of biomarkers, indices and standards, patient reported outcomes, imaging modalities, and other novel technologies and devices, to improve personalized care and lead to better outcomes.

Therapeutics

Therapeutics

About half of Crohn’s disease patients do not respond to available therapies, so the need for new and more effective treatments is critical. Helmsley invests in research to understand the mechanisms underlying the disease and to identify and test novel therapies to accelerate the development of new treatments.

As the underlying mechanisms driving the disease are thought to vary among patients, individualizing patient treatment is a priority in Crohn’s disease. Investigating new therapeutics and optimizing existing treatment regimens will allow for improved patient outcomes.

Disease Management

Disease Management

Once a person is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, they are met with a lifelong challenge that requires daily action and care to help with managing their disease. Patients deserve easily accessible, high-quality care built on informed, collaborative decision-making with their providers.

Patients and their caregivers need better tools and resources which are accessible for all regardless of geography. This includes leveraging technology to improve quality of life, monitoring symptoms to detect and predict flares, and improving access to mental healthcare resources, which can help mitigate the stress that is often caused by dealing with a chronic disease like Crohn’s.

Disease Biology

Disease Biology

Research into how environmental factors imprint on biological processes like gene expression may help reveal underlying causes of Crohn’s disease.

Breakdown of the intestinal mucosal barrier, and loss of the ability to self-repair if damaged, is a sign of Crohn’s disease and its complications.

The link between a dysregulated immune response and environmental and systemic factors such as the microbiome may be key to understanding the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease.

Recent Grants

Human Cell Atlas, Incorporated

Amount: $ 50,000.00
Term of Grant: 5 Months
Date of Award: 06.05.2024

The Scripps Research Institute

Amount: $ 3,778,831.00
Term of Grant: 36 Months
Date of Award: 06.05.2024

Crohn's Colitis Cure

Amount: $ 1,863,018.00
Term of Grant: 24 Months
Date of Award: 06.05.2024

ImproveCareNow, Inc

Amount: $ 2,575,455.00
Term of Grant: 36 Months
Date of Award: 05.15.2024

The Broad Institute, Inc

Amount: $ 10,473,815.00
Term of Grant: 36 Months
Date of Award: 05.01.2024

Our Team

Paul Scholl

Dr. Paul Scholl is the Program Director of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. Prior to joining Helmsley, he was associate medical head for the immunology therapeutic ...


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Paul Scholl

Program Director

Laurie Churchill

Dr. Laurie Churchill is a Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. Laurie oversees the diagnostics portfolio of grants, identifying and evaluating new opp ...


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Laurie Churchill

Program Officer

Terry Felton

Dr. Terry Felton is a Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. In this role, Terry oversees the disease management grants portfolio and helps identify and ...


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Terry Felton

Program Officer

Jessica Langer

Dr. Jessica Langer is a Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. Jessica helps to manage the program’s research grants portfolio and to identify new ...


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Jessica Langer

Program Officer

Elena Lucchetta

Dr. Elena Lucchetta is a Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. In this role, Elena oversees a portfolio of grants focusing on the underlying biology of ...


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Elena Lucchetta

Program Officer

Shefali Soni

Dr. Shefali Soni is a Program Officer for the Crohn’s Disease Program. In this role, Shefali oversees and manages the prevention grants portfolio and helps identify and evaluate new initiative ...


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Shefali Soni

Program Officer

Souwelimatou Amadou Amani

Dr. Souwelimatou Amadou Amani is  an Associate Program Officer  for Helmsley’s Crohn’s Disease Program.  In this role, Souweli assists with the prevention grants portfolio, which foc ...


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Souwelimatou Amadou Amani

Associate Program Officer

Aaron Bender

Dr. Aaron Bender is an Associate Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. In this role, Aaron assists with the program’s therapeutics grants portfolio, ...


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Aaron Bender

Associate Program Officer

Kerry Hernandez

Dr. Kerry Hernandez is an Associate Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. Kerry contributes to managing the Program’s portfolio of prevention gran ...


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Kerry Hernandez

Associate Program Officer

Stephanie LeValley

Dr. Stephanie LeValley is an Associate Program Officer for Helmsley’s Crohn’s Disease Program. In this role, Stephanie supports the Disease Biology portfolio of grants aiming to uncover the ...


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Stephanie LeValley

Associate Program Officer

Shashirekha Mundhra

Dr. Shashirekha Mundhra is an Associate Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program. In this role, Shashirekha assists with the disease management grants port ...


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Shashirekha Mundhra

Associate Program Officer

Kortney Hensley

Kortney Hensley is an Administrative Assistant for Helmsley’s Crohn’s Disease Program. As Administrative Assistant, she provides scheduling, travel, and expense reporting support for the pro ...


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Kortney Hensley

Administrative Assistant

Minele Youssef

Minele Youssef is an Administrative Assistant for Helmsley’s Crohn’s Disease Program. She provides scheduling, travel, and expense reporting support for the program. ...


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Minele Youssef

Administrative Assistant