Events & Activities
Most recently, ABF was invited to and visited Jennifer Doudna's Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) in Berkeley California. Representing the foundation was its co-founders, Andrea Armstead and Leander Barnhill. Dr. Doudna is a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and is recognized for her groundbreaking work with CRISPR-Cas9 as an editing tool for making targeted changes to the genome. Since sickle cell disease is caused by a single genetic mutation, CRISPR gene editing is being heralded as a cure for sickle cell.
ABF contacted Dr. Doudna to determine how Armstead Barnhill's funds could best be used to further CRISPR advances. Dr. Doudna requested that our ABF grant be directed towards its innovative Affordability Task Force. The Task Force, comprised of Biochemists, Economists, and non-profit pharma, are responsible for determining cost effective ways of delivering CRISPR technology as a cure to the over 100,000 United States sickle cell sufferers and the millions world wide who suffer from the disease.
The IGI program manager for the Affordability Task Force informed ABF that the seed money that ABF provided was critical in securing additional funding for the project from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation because it demonstrated that a representative from the sickle cell community believed in the value of the Affordability Task Force. Andrea and Lee spent a very full day attending a Task Force meeting, visiting CRISPR labs and providing thanks and encouragement to the numerous IGI Phds who are engaged daily in refining a cure for sickle cell.