In 1958, Professor Jérôme Lejeune, a doctor and researcher at the Necker Hospital in Paris, discovered an extra chromosome on the 21st pair and in so doing discovered the genetic cause of Down syndrome. As the father of modern genetics, he received may international awards for his work, including the Kennedy Prize and the Allen Memorial Award.
Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) is not a fatal condition, but a disability caused by a genetic error at conception and the most common single cause of birth defects in humans. Professor Lejeune was convinced that one day researchers would discover treatments that would largely restore the intellectual capabilities of individuals born with Down syndrome. The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation is committed to fulfilling Professor Lejeune’s dream, and in collaboration with researchers around the world conducts and funds research leading to targeted treatments to address issues related to cognition, memory, and speech, as well as the other comorbidities caused by the extra 21st chromosome.
Every year the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation provides funding to over 60 research teams who are pursuing treatments for genetic intellectual disabilities in the US, Canada, France, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and other countries. The Foundation is the world’s oldest and largest funder of research to find treatments for Trisomy 21 and other genetic intellectual disabilities. Our grants are 100% funded by private donations.
The Foundation also supports clinical research through the the Institut Jérôme Lejeune, in Paris, such as the ACTHYF program which aims to establish a link between the use of folinic acid and thyroid hormone to improve the psychomotor development of toddlers with Down syndrome. The Institute offers lifelong, specialized medical care through a medical and paramedical team. The Institut Jérôme Lejeune treats over 3,600 patients annually from France and abroad.
All of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation and its subsidiaries’ work has an ethical label which ensures the utmost respect for the value of each and every human life. The Foundation will only finance research that respects human life from conception to natural death. We do not support any projects that use products derived from human embryos or fetuses as research material.
This label guarantees that our research respects human dignity.