Yale University alumnus Mark Holterman, MD is a successful pediatrician and surgeon with over two decades of experience. He currently holds a full professorship position at the University of Illinois College of Medicine where he is an active surgeon inthe division of pediatric surgery. Dr. Mark Holterman was one of the minds behind the establishment of non-profit organization The Hannah Sunshine Foundation.
The Hannah Sunshine Foundation is an organization that focuses on the use of cellular and regenerative therapies for children with rare diseases. It was inspired by three young people, one of which was Sarah Hughes, a 23-year-old woman afflicted with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA).
SJIA is a serious subtype of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Unlike other types of JIA, the condition not only affects the joints but also involves other organs such as the heart, liver, and lungs. The condition is rare and only occurs among 10 to 20 percent of all children who have some form of JIA.
The disease has no known cure as of yet, but treatment is available. Doctors managing the disease focus on achieving permanent remission – a state wherein there are no clinical signs and symptoms that the disease is still active. Due to the damage that it may bring the joints, experts believe that early, aggressive treatment during the active phase of the disease should be encouraged.