$20 million donation supports neurodegeneration research

Neurons in a brain with Alzheimer's disease

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been awarded $20 million to strengthen neurodegeneration research.

The donation was awarded to the Belfer Neurodegeneration Consortium (BNDC), which aims to develop five new medicines for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders over the next 10 years, with the goal for two treatments to demonstrate clinical efficacy.

Formed in 2012, the BNDC is a multi-institutional initiative between MD Anderson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Baylor College of Medicine, among others. The consortium was established to gain a deeper understanding of neurodegenerative disease biology and translate those findings into effective therapeutic interventions.

Read more news from the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Since the consortium was formed, we have made tremendous progress in our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of neurodegenerative diseases and in translating those findings into effective targeted drugs and diagnostics for patients,” said Jim Ray, Executive Director, Belfer Neurodegeneration Consortium. “Yet, we still have more work to do. Alzheimer’s disease is already the most expensive disease in the United States. As our population continues to age, addressing quality-of-life issues and other challenges of treating and living with age-associated diseases must become a priority.”

The BNDC is a core component of MD Anderson’s Therapeutics Discovery division, which unites scientists, clinicians and drug development experts to eliminate the bottlenecks stifling traditional drug discovery. Driven by unparalleled proximity to patients and unmatched clinical and research expertise, Therapeutics Discovery and the BNDC can advance effective new therapies in ways not possible elsewhere.

MD Anderson researchers are working through its Cancer Neuroscience Program to explore the intersection between neurological disease and cancer.

This new donation brings the Belfer family’s total giving to MD Anderson to $53.5 million in just over 10 years.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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