Bay Area family gives generously to advance diabetes research

Michael and Loren Gordon, pictured with their children, recently gave a generous gift to UCSF Diabetes Center. (Courtesy Photo)


Bay Area family gives generously to advance diabetes research

Michael and Loren Gordon establish Diabetes Innovation Fund at UCSF


Michael Gordon, 49, loves nothing more than to be with his family.

He and his wife Loren live on the Peninsula with their two kids, and most likely, when Gordon is not working as a partner at a venture capital firm, he can be found doing just about anything outdoors with his family -- especially taking them on back-packing trips through the pine forests, lush meadows, and crystal-clear lakes of the Eastern Sierra.

However, for most of Gordon's life, managing his diabetes has not been as effortless as spending time with the people he loves -- until recently.

"After having type 1 for 44 years, I received a whole pancreas transplant from UCSF and it has been a life changer," Gordon said. "I was diagnosed when I was just a bit under two years old with type 1 diabetes, and the state-of-the-art therapy was pretty primitive back then in comparison to today’s treatment."

Prior to his transplant, Gordon said he went through quite a struggle with neuropathy and very erratic blood sugars.

“It was very tough on my kids and my wife,” Gordon said. “Since my transplant, my sugars have been normal -- which is a miracle."

To support UCSF’s mission of finding a cure for diabetes, Michael and Loren Gordon gave a generous gift this month of $1.5M to establish the UCSF Diabetes Innovation Fund, which brings the UCSF Diabetes Center endowment to $10M.

"My wife Loren and I wanted to do what we could to accelerate the promising research that the UCSF Diabetes Center is doing -- so that a cure for all Type I diabetics is closer to reality."

In terms of research, the UCSF Diabetes Center ranks among the top 10 diabetes programs in the U.S. funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), as well as being a federally recognized Diabetes Research Center (DRC), one of only 16 such centers of excellence in the nation.

"We are committed to finding a cure for the millions of people worldwide who are affected by diabetes," Matthias Hebrok, Ph.D, director of the UCSF Diabetes Center said. "Our Center's investigators are focused on taking laboratory bench research to the patient’s bedside as quickly as possible.”

Treating adult and pediatric patients, the Center focuses its research in three distinct areas: Beta cell/ stem cell research, immunology research, and inflammation obesity/metabolism research.

"As a result of our collaborative culture between our patient care team and our diabetes researchers, patients have access to late-breaking discoveries, novel treatment options, and new strategies for diagnosing and managing this disease," Hebrok said.

"On behalf of the entire Diabetes Center, we are extremely grateful to the Gordon family," Hebrok added. "This generous gift will enable us to broaden our research on finding better solutions -- and ultimately a cure -- for diabetes."

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