The University of Washington’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center received a $6 million donation from the Ellison Foundation to boost its efforts to find new treatments for the degenerative brain disease, the Seattle Times reported.
It comes at a key time for the research group, which is kicking off a $20 million project to evaluate the use of personalized treatments for Alzheimers. The funds from the donation will be put towards exome sequencing to identify markers in a person’s genes that can indicate Alzheimer’s risk, research into using a patient’s stem cells for treatment and use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to detect changes in a patient’s brain before dementia sets in.
Alzheimer’s is a personal issue for the Ellison family, which has lost three members to the disease. Bill Ellison, the founder of Savers, Inc. (the parent company behind Value Village) died from Alzheimer’s in 2008. Herbert J. Ellison, a former UW professor, died from it in 2012.
Other Seattle-area organizations are also looking at similar techniques for other diseases, such as Juno Therapeutics, which is examining the use of personalized treatments for cancer.