DALLAS – March 17, 2015 – Presbyterian Village North Foundation (PVNF) has made two gifts totaling $1,250,000 to support Alzheimer’s research at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
The North Dallas senior living community foundation donated $1,000,000 to Southwestern Medical Foundation to establish the Presbyterian Village North Foundation Distinguished Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutic Research. The Presbyterian Village North Foundation also donated $250,000 to UT Southwestern to support the Alzheimer’s disease vaccine therapy research of Dr. Roger Rosenberg, Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, and Physiology, and holder of The Abe (Brunky), Morris and William Zale Distinguished Chair in Neurology at UT Southwestern.
“These gifts will foster collaboration among those working to understand and prevent Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern Medical Center, who holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science. “We greatly appreciate Presbyterian Village North Foundation’s commitment to helping unravel the mysteries of this disease and find breakthroughs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients through research.”
“UT Southwestern Medical Center is doing groundbreaking work in fighting a disease that touches so many of the residents of Presbyterian Village North, as well as their families and loved ones,” said Mr. Maier. “It is our great wish to endow this important work in perpetuity – knowing that people will always find care and benefit.”
The PVNF executive committee also includes Bob Symon, Jack Holmes, Erik Vohtz and Jim Wiley. Other PVNF board members involved with the gift include Harvey Cragon, Pat Mills, Margaret Ann Thetford and Dr. Joe Roach.
Dr. Roach is a member of the Class of 1945 at Southwestern Medical College, which is now UT Southwestern. He graduated in one of the earliest classes of the school.
“We are grateful to all the scientists who are looking for answers with regard to Alzheimer’s that can improve the quality of life for those affected,” said PVNF Executive Director Margaret Zagurski. “We’re honored to support Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern in their ongoing search for medical breakthroughs.”
The PVNF decided to make the gifts partly in response to the work of Dr. Myron Weiner, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern, and Dr. Paul Chafetz, who helped establish the Alzheimer’s Disease Care Wing at Presbyterian Village North during the period 1995-98. The Presbyterian Village North Foundation recently met with Dr. Mark Goldberg, Chairman of UT Southwestern’s Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics who holds the Linda and Mitch Hart Distinguished Chair in Neurology, and Dr. Rosenberg to learn about the current state of research being conducted and the promise of new therapies being developed.
Dr. Rosenberg and his team at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern are working on a vaccine that could significantly reduce the levels of toxic amyloid proteins in the human brain that are thought to cause memory loss and dementia in Alzheimer’s patients. The vaccine – which has already been tested in mice − could soon be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for testing on clinical trial subjects.
“I would like to sincerely thank the Presbyterian Village North Foundation for its continued support of Alzheimer’s research and for helping us reach the goal of providing better treatment for patients and ultimately preventing the disease,” said Dr. Rosenberg.
Alzheimer’s, a progressive and fatal brain disease, now affects more than 5 million people in the U.S – including 13 percent of those over age 65 and nearly 50 percent of those 85 and older, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. With the increasing age span of the population, those numbers are expected to rise dramatically.
The Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern is one of only 29 specialty centers in the country designated by the National Institute on Aging, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The Center is a national leader in both the clinical care of patients and the research of Alzheimer’s. Researchers and the Center’s staff are actively following almost 850 patients, including 131 new patients. Another 420 subjects are participating in observational studies.
“We are grateful and touched by the tremendous support of Presbyterian Village North Foundation in helping further the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Kathleen Gibson, President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation.”