Grandparents Donate 3 Million To Cannabis Research After Granddaughter Diagnosed With Dravet Syndrome

Thomas Jefferson University Opening “The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.”

Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for Medical Cannabis Education and Research is getting a new name to honor Australian philanthropists Barry and Joy Lambert, who have given the center a $3 million gift to support its mission.

“We are extremely grateful to the Lamberts for this bold and visionary gift, which will have an immediate impact on our research and education efforts,” said Dr. Charles V. Pollack Jr., director of the Institute of Emerging Health Professions at Jefferson. “From the start we have had an ambitious agenda to elevate the science that underpins the therapeutic use of cannabinoids, and this donation provides a huge boost of momentum to pursue the most promising ideas and potential therapies for a range of conditions.”

Jefferson In May became the first major health sciences university in the United States to establish such a center, which will now be known as “The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.”

The Lamberts

The Lamberts became interested in the field of medical marijuana after their granddaughter, Katelyn, was diagnosed with Dravet’s syndrome, a rare genetic abnormality that affects the brain’s electric signaling system and causes severe and repetitive seizures. Medical cannabis has been shown to be one of the few therapies that mitigates the seizures caused by the condition. Cannabis derived from hemp has provided Katelyn with substantial relief, the couple said.

“Joy and I were extremely impressed with Jefferson’s rapid progress in the field of medicinal cannabis research and innovative approach to exploring all avenues for new therapies to include using hemp derived cannabinoids,” said Barry Lambert, the 70-year-old founder of Count Financial, Australia’s largest network of accounting-based advisory firms. “We believe that solving big problems requires courage and big ideas.…We’re proud the center will bear our name.”

Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, said the gift will help Jefferson “catapult our research and educational efforts in medical cannabis.”

The Philadelphia center’s researchers plan to study the therapeutic potential of a wide range of cannabinoids, including cannabidiol and many of its lessr-known close chemical variants that are not often explored scientifically. They also plan to study Hemp – a non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant that has been used for paper, textiles, cords and ropes for centuries – as an additional source for medicinal cannabidiols.

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From: Philadelphia Business Journal 

John George covers health care, biotech/pharmaceuticals and sports business.

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