Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received a $15 million gift from Paula and Rodger Riney aimed at accelerating research and developing new treatments for two major neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Of the gift, $10 million will support Alzheimer’s disease research, while $5 million will support studies of Parkinson’s disease.
The gift will help advance promising research that could benefit millions of people. While Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are distinct diseases, common threads run through both, such as in the way that neurons degenerate. The thinking is that fundamental discoveries related to either disease may lead to cures and treatments for other neurodegenerative diseases.
“The burden of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s continues to grow, and we are grateful to Paula and Rodger Riney for their extraordinary generosity,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Both diseases create enormous strains on patients, families and caregivers, and health-care systems, and the Rineys’ gift will support talented faculty working on the front lines to understand the process of neurodegeneration and identify potential treatments, with a goal of improving patients’ lives.”
Chancellor-elect Andrew D. Martin echoed the sentiment.
“With this gift, Paula and Rodger Riney have provided a tremendous boost to our research efforts aimed at neurodegenerative diseases,” Martin said. “I deeply appreciate their commitment to this vital area of research and their passion for improving the lives of those suffering from these devastating diseases.”