SAN FRANCISCO (July 18, 2022) – California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) researcher Dr. Steve Cummings and his team at Sutter’s San Francisco Coordinating Center (SFCC) were awarded a significant grant from the CPMC Foundation’s Research & Education Leadership Council (RELC) to further their studies of aging and age-related illnesses. Research and education have been a cornerstone of CPMC for more than 150 years. The CPMC Research Institute is ranked in the top 25% of research institutions in the U.S., based on funding received from the National Institutes of Health and other competitive grant funding.
The new funds – totaling $8.5 million – will enable SFCC researchers to expand their Center for Healthy Aging research by recruiting and supporting faculty and postdoctoral fellows in translational research on aging. The funding will also help clinicians apply principles and results of aging research to patient care. This may include, for example, measuring biomarkers of aging to predict outcomes of major surgery in older adults.
“I’m incredibly grateful to generous community donors, the CPMC Foundation and the Research & Education Leadership Council for their support of SFCC research,” says Dr. Cummings, a senior scientist at CPMC. “The new funds will position young, talented investigators to leverage the powerful banks of specimens and data we have on many thousands of people. With more faculty we can do more to discover why some people remain independent and others become frail and vulnerable with age.”
Dr. Cummings notes the grant will also enable his team to apply findings from SFCC-driven translational studies and apply them to patient care, by collaborating with Sutter clinicians to help keep the health system’s patients healthier as they age and less likely to develop age-related illnesses like osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers and sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass).
“With this new philanthropic funding, Sutter Health can make a significant investment in research and clinician-scholar training that will inform and enhance patient care as our communities age, helping reduce the health ramifications and costs that impact our organization and the healthcare system more broadly,” says Leon Clark, Sutter Health’s chief research & health equity officer and DIO.
Sutter’s SFCC has long been at the forefront of longevity research. Home of the Longevity Consortium—launched in 1999 and funded by the National Institute on Aging to foster collaboration among longevity researchers across the U.S.—Sutter’s Center for Research on Human Aging and the SFCC coordinate the work of laboratory scientists, biostatisticians, genomics researchers, epidemiologists and clinical investigators to understand genes associated with human aging and longevity.
Executive Director of the SFCC, Dr. Cummings has published more than 600 peer-reviewed publications since beginning his career as a physician-scientist in 1980. He earned a medical degree and completed residency training in internal medicine and a fellowship in clinical epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), followed by 38 years as a professor of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF. He also served as the Associate Chair of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at UCSF before joining CPMC.
“Sutter Health is home to pioneering clinician-scholars like Dr. Cummings, whose research has changed the way clinicians and researchers approach age-related illnesses including osteoporosis and which has yielded important new findings to help our patients and communities preserve health with age,” says Allison Duignan, executive director of the CPMC Foundation. “We are fortunate to have an active community of donors who consistently support research, and we are excited to lead additional fundraising to empower the expanded team at the San Francisco Coordinating Center helping to grow their work.”
About CPMC Foundation
CPMC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of CPMC, part of the Sutter Health Network. The Foundation works with the medical center and donors from throughout the community to improve care, create vital new programs, fund innovative research and empower CPMC physicians, researchers and their teams to accomplish extraordinary things they would otherwise not be able to do. These medical experts update members of the philanthropic community on their latest work at the Foundation’s leaderships councils in areas like cancer and women’s and children’s health.
The Research & Education Leadership Council (RELC) was formed at the Foundation in 2013 to evaluate projects from CPMC physicians and scientists to provide start-up funds for equipment, technology, research and education programs. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to improve the care of CPMC patients through the translation of research innovations from bench to bedside. RELC has released nearly $42 million to support important clinical research and education.