Huntsville, Ala. – The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit genomics and genetics research institute, received a generous $2.5 million gift from an anonymous donor in late December to support the Institute’s Memory & Mobility (M&M) Fund.
The M&M Fund was established for research of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, ALS, Huntington disease, and other conditions that ravage the human brain and body.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude and deeply humbled. This generous gift allows us to begin a unique Alzheimer disease project that has the potential to lead to earlier diagnosis and new treatments,” said Rick Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha president and science director. Myers also is leading the Alzheimer project.
The project involves genomic sequencing (reading the DNA) of more than 1500 patients with Alzheimer and other dementias. Additionally, researchers will study the immunogenomics of neurodegenerative disease. Immunogenomics uses the immune system and genomics to create an early “picture” of disease.
“HudsonAlpha has a rare opportunity to conduct truly groundbreaking research in Alzheimer Disease through this project. What we learn could help us diagnose earlier, monitor treatments better and lead to drug discoveries for new treatments,” said Myers.
When the M&M Fund was founded in 2016, the goal was to raise $4.3 million for the Alzheimer project. That project is a mere $400,000 from reaching its goal.
Because of that success, HudsonAlpha has been given a second unique research opportunity to further strengthen the project: access to another set of patient samples, 750 individuals who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer disease.
“By combining these samples in the study, we have a larger, more robust dataset to evaluate. That gives us a greater likelihood of identifying new DNA variants linked to Alzheimer and other dementias. Early-onset Alzheimer is a rarer disease, but what we learn about it will potentially impact treatments for all patients,” said Nick Cochran, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Myers lab.
In order to complete research on the entire set of patients, HudsonAlpha must raise an additional $1.5 million through the M&M Fund.
“These diseases impact tens of millions of people every year, and their families as well. I believe we will change their stories through this work. It is an incredibly compelling reason to give,” said Myers.
To make a gift to the M&M Fund at HudsonAlpha, visit https://support.hudsonalpha.org/MMFund or call Elizabeth Herrin at the HudsonAlpha Foundation at 256.327.0442.
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological challenges. Opened in 2008, its mission is four-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; bringing genomic medicine into clinical care; fostering life sciences entrepreneurship and business growth; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus encourage collaborations that produce advances in medicine and agriculture. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and includes more than 30 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit: https://hudsonalpha.org/
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