By Tiffany Bucciarelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) honored Lee Ducat at a tribute dinner at the Rittenhouse Hotel, bringing together the world’s leading scientists and researchers for the occasion. More than 150 guests attended the tribute dinner, which toasted Lee Ducat for her creation and development of NDRI. Guests enjoyed a cocktail hour and dinner before a speaking program where colleagues and researchers celebrated Ducat’s accomplishments. During the program, singer/actress and longtime friend Gloria Loring performed an original song, which she composed and centered on Brennan Thicke, her son, and his diagnosis of diabetes. The program closed with Arthur Rubenstein, MBBCh, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a NDRI Board Member, presenting the tribute award to Lee Ducat.

NDRI, headquartered in Philadelphia, has a global reach by providing donated human biospecimens to researchers and scientists throughout the United States, Canada and 18 additional countries. Most recently, NDRI has partnered with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Vertex Pharmaceuticals to develop two new drugs, which show great promise for improving and prolonging the lives of cystic fibrosis patients.

“Much of my success with NDRI could not have been possible without the accomplished scientists and researchers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said Lee Ducat, Founder and President of NDRI. “I’m so proud of how far we’ve come in disease research, especially the most recent discovery of a cystic fibrosis drug which shows great potential in changing lives for cystic fibrosis patients.”

Ducat, who also founded the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, was paid tribute to for her diligence in the 31 years of NDRI, an organization responsible for roughly 135 medical breakthroughs and advances ever year. As the lead organization of human tissue research, NDRI has assisted researchers in more than 3,000 advances since its creation. Most recently, NDRI has partnered with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Vertex Pharmaceuticals to the drugs for improving and prolonging the lives of cystic fibrosis patients.

For over three decades, Ducat has fought to increase awareness and secure government funding for juvenile diabetes as the founder of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). After the success of JDRF, Ducat founded NDRI in 1980 to work toward finding donated human biospecimens for scientists. NDRI’s efforts have expanded in almost every disease, including diabetes, rare diseases, HIV/AIDS, cancer, cystic fibrosis, stem cell research and more.

About NDRI, The National Disease Research Interchange
NDRI, The National Disease Research Interchange, is a non-profit that is funded by the National Institutes of Health, pharmaceutical companies, foundations and the general public. It was founded in 1980 to provide donated human pancreas tissues for diabetes research studies. The organization broadened its focus by obtaining human tissue samples of all kinds sent to the nation’s best researchers in hopes of effecting advances and discoveries. NDRI works to create translational advances in almost every disease. By providing human cells, tissues and organs to researchers and scientists, NDRI works on the cutting edge of disease research. For more information, please visit

This article reflects the opinion of PhillyHealthWatch – not CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Watch & Listen LIVE