by Gary Wyne
General Secretary, CMMRF
The Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation, (CMMRF), was incorporated in the state of Oklahoma, March 6, 1986. The driving force behind this new corporation was Most Puissant General Grand Master Ben Mandlebaum, of the General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons International.
Today, CMMRF funds research at the Indiana University School of Medicine located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Initial research focused on the cause(s) and eventually a cure for atherosclerosis and its complications. In later years, the research implemented adult stem cell therapies to address a variety of mature health issues but not necessarily restricted to the adult population.
As the Foundation grew and gained momentum, the Board of Trustees, meeting in Washington D.C., February 1996, agreed to fund a Chair at the Indiana University Medical Center at the cost of one million dollars. CMMRF contributed two hundred thousand dollars a year for five years to endow the chair. The final payment was made in December of 2000. Early in 1999, Keith L. March, M.D., PhD., was named the first holder of the newly endowed CMMRF Chair. Dr. March held this position until his resignation from Indiana University in the third quarter of 2017. During the academic year 2001-2002, as a direct result of CMMRF funding, the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine was established under the leadership of Dr. March.
Over the years, several physicians’ names, (having played significant CMMRF roles), appeared in the minutes of the Board of Trustees meetings. Most notable among these names are:
- Dr. Niles Bang
- Dr. Craig Brater
- Dr. Kenneth G. Hill
- Dr. (nfn) Huh
- Dr. Keith L. March
- Dr. Gus Watanabee
Since the departure of Dr. March, CMMRF funding has supported the research of Doctors Michael P. Murphy and Carmella Evans-Molina. Dr. Murphy is leading the way of discovery research in the use of adult stem cells to repair and replace blood vessels through vascular research. Dr. Evans-Molina is pursuing alternative approaches, through adult stem cells, toward finding a solution to diabetes.
Michael P. Murphy, MD
Carmella Evans-Molina, M.D., PhD.
Keith L. March, M. D., PhD.
In his last interview with CMMRF, Dr. March reported that there were nine areas of research currently under investigation within the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine. Those areas were:
- Acute Kidney or Acute Renal Failure
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Emphysema or Other Pulmonary Ailments
- Diabetes, either Latent or Active
- Heart Attack, Weakened Heart, By-pass Surgery, Stents, Congestive Heart Failure
- Lingering Wound; an Injury Just Won’t Heal
- Poor Circulation, Leading to the Possibility of Amputation.
With the departure of Dr. March, CMMRF anticipates that this broader scope of past and current research could possibly be narrowed to focus on the specific areas of Dr. Evans-Molina and Dr. Murphy. Based on that last interview with Dr. March, the most pressing areas needing funding today are congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis, and stroke:
- Congestive Heart Failure: Indiana University is one of several members of a National Institute of Health sponsored network currently conducting Food and Drug Administration approved clinical studies of bone marrow-derived as well as heart-derived stem cells in patients with heart failure due to either poor blood flow, (a heart attack), or due to chemotherapy.
- Osteoarthritis: It is widely hoped that a preparation including stem cells harvested from the fat of individuals with osteoarthritis may be helpful to reduce the pain and crippling effects of the arthritis. Arthritis is in fact the leading cause of disability in America, and osteoarthritis affects more than twenty million Americans. Indiana University researchers obtained FDA approval to start a trial of one’s own (autologous) fat-derived cells injected into the knee of patients who would otherwise proceed to a knee replacement. The anticipated goal is to determine whether this approach may be able to forestall the need for a knee replacement and the associated disability and challenges to recovery.
- Stroke: There are seven million stroke survivors in the United States. Unfortunately, most of them have been unable to receive the only treatment that exists for stroke, which is “clot busting” therapy, that is only useful if provided within 4-6 hours of the onset of symptoms. The therapeutic substances that adipose stem cells secrete have demonstrated the ability to rescue brain at risk both in young and adult laboratory rodents after interruption of blood flow to the brain. These findings can lead the way to entirely new treatments for stroke and cerebral palsy (stroke in babies) that can be applied up to 36 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms. Someday we hope to put these therapeutic agents both into emergency rooms and ambulances for immediate administration when needed.
On March 6, 2018, The CMMRF Board of Trustees will hold its second CMMRF Appeal Day. March 6 celebrates the date of the chartering of CMMRF in Oklahoma on March 6, 1986
There will never be enough financial resources to fund all the research opportunities. However, the Board is appealing to every Cryptic Mason, wheresoever dispersed over the face of the earth to contribute five dollars, ($5.00), through his home Council to CMMRF in honor of CMMRF Day. Your continued support is vital to our progress and success. There is something in CMMRF for just about every mature adult. Rare indeed is the individual whose life has not been touched by a physical ailment under research by the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine. The Board encourages each Cryptic Mason to actively promote and support this tremendous philanthropy.
Thank you for your continued support.