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MGH receives generous donation to develop state-of-the-art tuberous sclerosis facility

BOSTON - November 9, 2004 - Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), through the generous $6 million contribution of Carol and James Herscot (which will increase to a $10 million commitment in the next several years) will create a new center benefiting children, adults and families touched by tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Once established, the center will be one of the world's most sophisticated and comprehensive TSC facilities.

Led by Elizabeth A. Thiele, MD, PhD, director of the Epilepsy Service at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and one of our nation's foremost TSC experts, the new center will feature: state-of-the-art clinical facilities in the hospital's new Yawkey Center, collaborative research initiatives within the hospital and among the broader Harvard medical community and educational programs for medical students, advanced trainees and practicing physicians. Clinical care for children and adults will be enhanced by the addition of medical specialists and nurse-coordinators who will help maintain a seamless network of primary and specialty care. The center will play a lead role in increasing the visibility of TSC worldwide.

Tuberous sclerosis complex is a disorder with a wide range of potentially devastating symptoms affecting several organ systems, including the brain, skin, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys. It can be challenging to diagnose and has an unpredictable course. Although genetically inherited, TSC can affect individuals quite variably, even within a family. While epilepsy and benign tumors are the most common disabilities, secondary complications include memory and attention problems, depression and social isolation - issues that are especially troubling for both children and adults. TSC is one of the single largest causes of autism. It is more common than muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Thiele and her colleagues recognize that the best TSC care must be fully coordinated within a clinical setting that has ready access to a variety of experts, including neurologists, psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, dermatologists, cardiologists, pulmonary and renal specialists, as well as social workers and genetic counselors. More than 180 children and adults are now cared for in MGH's TSC Clinic. Approximately two new patients are seen each week. From a clinical perspective, an increasing challenge is to deliver a combination of primary and specialty care that is timely, convenient and efficient for a growing patient base that often requires a complex mix of medical and other services. The Carol and James Herscot Center for TSC will deliver coordinated care to patients from birth through adulthood and provide a centralized means of support for families struggling with the disease.

Real estate developer James S. Herscot and his wife Carol have dedicated their lives to advancing TSC research and treatment. Carol Herscot serves on the board of directors of the TS Alliance, a national organization whose mission is dedicated to finding a cure for TSC while improving the lives of those affected. Previous gifts from the Herscot family to the MGH have been instrumental in allowing Dr. Thiele and her colleagues to advance vital research studies and further the development of a unique TSC patient database. The Herscots are long time benefactors of the MGH, having provided major support for the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care and the Ellison Inpatient Tower.

Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $400 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, cutaneous biology, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In 1994, MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital joined to form Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery system comprising the two academic medical centers, specialty and community hospitals, a network of physician groups, and nonacute and home health services.

Media Contact: Donita Boddie , MGH Public Affairs

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