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Foundation to Fight H-ABC, University of Massachusetts Medical School and Yale University Initiate Gene Therapy Study Targeting Cure for Rare Disease

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Foundation to Fight H-ABC, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness and driving development of a cure for the degenerative children’s disease, H-ABC, today announced a sponsored research agreement with the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Yale University to advance a targeted gene therapy for H-ABC.

“We have high hopes to quickly prove efficacy with this approach to move research forward and find a permanent cure for this devastating disease,” said Michele Sloan, Co-Founder, Foundation to Fight H-ABC.

H-ABC (hypomyelination with atrophy of the basal ganglia and cerebellum) belongs to a group of conditions called leukodystrophies, diseases that affect the white matter of the brain. These diseases disrupt the growth or maintenance of the myelin sheath, a protective layer that insulates nerve cells and allows for the transmission of messages between cells.

Caused by a mutation in the TUBB4A gene, H-ABC is a rare genetic disorder that affects certain parts of the brain—specifically the basal ganglia and the cerebellum, which control movement. H-ABC targets these important structures, reducing both their size and function. As a result, children who suffer from H-ABC often experience motor problems, cannot walk, talk, or sit on their own. Currently, there is no known cure for this disabling and life-threatening condition.

The teams of Dr. Guangping Gao (University of Massachusetts Medical School) and Dr. Karel Liem (Yale School of Medicine) will combine extensive expertise in the fields of Adeno-associated virus (AAV), a platform for gene delivery for the treatment of a variety of human diseases and H-ABC disease models, to develop AAV vectors to silence or outcompete the mutated TUBB4A gene.

“To date, AAV-based gene delivery system is the vector of choice for in vivo gene therapy of many currently untreatable rare diseases including H-ABC,” said Guangping Gao, Ph.D. “We are very excited for starting close collaborations with Dr. Liem’s team at Yale and the Foundation to Fight H-ABC to develop potential gene therapeutics for this devastating disease.”

“With the support from the Foundation to Fight H-ABC, we are excited to build upon our mechanistic studies of the disease and to collaborate with Dr. Gao of the University of Massachusetts to develop and test AAV approaches to H-ABC,” said Karel F Liem Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

For more information, please visit https://www.h-abc.org/donate.

CONTACT: Sawyer Lipari, slipari@lambert.com

View original content: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/foundation-to-fight-h-abc-university-of-massachusetts-medical-school-and-yale-university-initiate-gene-therapy-study-targeting-cure-for-rare-disease-301150610.html

SOURCE Foundation to Fight H-ABC

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DOJ sues Yale University for discriminating against white, Asian applicants

Of over 13,000 students at Yale in 2019, less than 8 percent were Black. The suit was called ‘baseless.’

The Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Bill Barr, has sued Yale University for allegedly discriminating against white and Asian applicants.

“All persons who apply for admission to colleges and universities should expect and know that they will be judged by their character, talents and achievements and not the color of their skin,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “To do otherwise is to permit our institutions to foster stereotypes, bitterness and division.”

Trees bloom on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Bill Barr, has sued Yale for allegedly discriminating against white and Asian applicants. (Photo by Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images)
Trees bloom on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Bill Barr, has sued Yale for allegedly discriminating against white and Asian applicants. (Photo by Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images)

The lawsuit is the result of a two-year investigation into claims by Asian American groups that their race was a factor in hundreds of admissions decisions. The investigation stemmed from a 2016 complaint against Yale and several other Ivy League schools, including Brown University and Dartmouth College.

The Department of Justice is alleging that Yale’s admissions process violates Title VI the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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The complaint alleges that the university violates the act by “subjecting domestic, non-transfer Asian and white applicants to Yale College to unlawful discrimination on the ground of race.”

The investigation alleges that Asian and white students have “one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applications with comparable academic credentials.”

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In mid-August, the Department of Justice demanded that Yale stop using race or national origin in its 2020-2021 admissions cycle. The university pushed back, saying it did not plan to change its process.

Yale President Peter Salovey called the lawsuit “baseless.”

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“I want to be clear: Yale does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity,” he said in a statement. “Our admissions practices are completely fair and lawful. Yale’s admissions policies will not change as a result of the filing of this baseless lawsuit. We look forward to defending these policies in court.”

Of the more than 13,000 students at Yale in 2019, less than 8% are Black.

In 2018, the hashtag #yalewhileblack trended on Twitter after a white graduate student called campus police on a Black fellow student who had fallen asleep in a common room while studying.

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The post DOJ sues Yale University for discriminating against white, Asian applicants appeared first on TheGrio.

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Justice Department Sues Yale University Over Admissions Practices

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday against Yale University, alleging the school violated federal civil-rights law by discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants in undergraduate admissions.

In the complaint, filed in federal district court in Connecticut, the Justice Department alleged that for the past few decades Yale’s “oversized, standardless, intentional use of race has subjected domestic, non-transfer applicants to Yale College to discrimination on the ground of race.”

The lawsuit marks an escalation of the Trump administration’s scrutiny of elite colleges over their policies on race and admissions. The Justice Department has also supported legal efforts to end affirmative action at Harvard University, and the Education Department last month said it would investigate racism at Princeton University.

Yale didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in 2017 that it would redirect resources toward probing and suing universities over their affirmative-action policies, part of a broader rightward shift the division has taken under President Trump. The division has made other sweeping changes to policy on civil-rights enforcement, police reform and other areas.

“All persons who apply for admission to colleges and universities should expect and know that they will be judged by their character, talents, and achievements and not the color of their skin,” said Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “To do otherwise is to permit our institutions to foster stereotypes, bitterness, and division.”

The Justice Department began investigating Yale in 2018, based on a 2016 complaint filed with the Justice and Education Departments by a group of Asian-American organizations, led by the Asian American Coalition for Education.

The federal government threatened the suit back in August, when it issued the findings of a two-year review of Yale’s undergraduate admissions practices. At the time, the Justice Department said Yale discriminated based on race and national origin, and that race was the “determinative factor” in hundreds of admissions decisions each year.

It said then that Yale couldn’t use race or national origin in the current undergraduate admissions cycle. If the school did propose to consider those factors in future admissions cycles, it must first submit a plan “demonstrating that its proposal is narrowly tailored as required by law,” the Justice Department wrote to Yale’s lawyers. The proposal would also need to include a date by which Yale would end its use of race as a factor in admissions, the letter said.

Yale had two weeks to comply, the Justice Department said, or it would be prepared to file suit.

At the time, Yale President Peter Salovey called the Justice Department’s allegation baseless and said the school had fully cooperated with the investigation. “However,” he wrote in a letter to the school community in August, “the DOJ concluded its investigation before reviewing and receiving all the information it has requested.”

Dr. Salovey said that Yale wouldn’t change its admissions processes in response to the Justice Department’s request “because the DOJ is seeking to impose a standard