The team is composed of Dr. Matthew Porteus and Dr. Frank Longo of Stanford Medicine, and Dr. Steve Finkbeiner of the Gladstone Institutes, said a Stanford press release. It will also collaborate with the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
Tad Taube, founder and chairman of Taube Philanthropies, had also made other contributions to neurodegenerative disease research in the past.
“We have made considerable progress in advancing drug therapy developments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases since Taube Philanthropies started supporting my research nearly a decade ago,” Finkbeiner said in a Gladstone news story. “With this renewed commitment and concerted approach focusing on Huntington’s disease, I am optimistic that we will continue advancing toward our research goals.”
Over the last decade, Taube Philanthropies has donated over $5 million to Gladstone and $1 million to Stanford. It started funding Huntington’s disease research under the direction of Nobel laureate Stanley Prusiner of UCSF’s department of neurology.
The donation will support an innovative program with three leading medical research groups and, for the first time, will introduce gene editing and stem cell therapies as treatment strategies, ultimately in the hopes of finding a cure for the disease.
In related news, on May 18, Pope Francis will meet at the Vatican with patients and others fighting Huntington’s, in what organizers claim will be world’s largest gathering ever of Huntington’s patients.
South America has the world’s highest prevalence of Huntington’s disease. Many South American families will have the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis during next week’s high-profile event. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. but the Vatican’s doors will open at 8 a.m.