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A brief history of the 129-year-old Trudeau Institute of Saranac Lake


For more than a century, the Trudeau Institute, a biomedical research center at Saranac Lake, has been studying the human immune system to develop treatments for fatal diseases.

The state recently announced it would invest up to $35 million in a biotech partnership between the institute and Clarkson University, Potsdam — a much-needed stream of funds over the next five years that would help “stabilize” the financially troubled organization.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said Wednesday that the funding would save more than 80 jobs at Trudeau — essentially the institute’s entire staff, as it has only about 90 employees, according to Trudeau’s website.

Founded in 1884, the institute originally was a tuberculosis sanitarium that treated people suffering from what was then considered an incurable lung disease.

The institute’s founder, Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, who himself had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, also co-founded the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis — now the American Lung Association — and served as the association’s first president.

The Saranac Lake research center was recognized as a nonprofit organization in 1964 and its name was changed to Trudeau Institute Inc. on May 2, 1966.

The institute has gone through several expansions over the past 129 years and now owns 18 buildings — for laboratories and staff housing — on 42 acres at Saranac Lake, according to its website.

The Trudeau Institute currently hosts eight research teams to develop vaccines for infectious diseases, such as pandemic influenza, and study the human immune system to find cures for cancer and autoimmune disorders.

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