Simboli family inspires asthma research

Simboli family inspires asthma research

Gloria, Anthony J., Anthony C., and Patricia Simboli at the Chair Celebration.

The number of asthma cases is on the rise, increasing 28 percent from 2001 to 2011 and affecting more than 25 million people nationwide. Diagnosed in mid-life, Anthony C. Simboli sought effective care for years before meeting a “life-saving find” in Elliot Israel, MD. For the past 21 years, the director of the Asthma Research Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has helped Simboli manage his asthma, as well as a barrage of medication side effects.

Through medical research, Israel and his colleagues are determined to identify the causes of the complex disease and improve treatment options for patients.

“Asthma caused by allergies might need different therapies than asthma related to exposure to chemicals or smoke,” Israel explains. “Our research is aimed at finding the right medications for the right patients.”

To accelerate this work, Simboli and his wife, Gloria, have made several annual gifts in the past decade to support BWH’s asthma research fellows. Recently, the husband and wife team pledged $2 million to establish the Gloria M. and Anthony C. Simboli Distinguished Chair in Asthma Research.

“This gift will extend our research to develop personalized treatments and support junior investigators,” says Israel, who will be the inaugural chair. “Tony, Gloria, and their children, Patricia and Anthony, are important in the philanthropic community, and care about helping others.”

Simboli, who hails from Boston’s North End, founded ACS Development Corporation, a local real estate development business. “Gloria and I feel strongly about supporting medical and educational organizations in the community,” he says. “With our gift to the Brigham for asthma research, we want to improve quality of life for people with this debilitating condition, especially children.”

The family also hopes their gift will inspire others to give, with a goal of raising an additional $3 million to establish a new center for asthma research at the hospital.

“This center would have an immense impact on our work,” Israel says. “There are still deaths from asthma, and groups of patients who do poorly with available medications. Support for the center will help to more rapidly translate research into treatments for patients suffering with the disease.”

As Israel forges ahead with new endeavors, he says, “We have big goals for asthma care, and the Simbolis’ generosity is setting us on the right path to realize our vision.”

To join the Simbolis in supporting asthma research, contact Terry McGowan at 617-424-4316 or tmcgowan@partners.org.