Washington – In recognition of his groundbreaking genetic research and outstanding leadership and commitment to finding a cure and better treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Rudolph Tanzi received the 2007 Ronald and Nancy Reagan Award at the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Gala this week.
The Alzheimer’s Association presents the award at the annual Gala to an outstanding researcher in the field. Over the last three years, the support of gala attendees has raised more than $3.5 million for Alzheimer programs, services and cutting-edge research.
“I am honored and extremely proud to receive this prestigious award,” said Dr. Tanzi, who serves as chairman of the Cure Alzheimer’s FundTM Research Consortium and is the director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit of MassGeneral Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases. “President Reagan and the First Lady brought Alzheimer’s and the devastation of the disease into the forefront of public perception. Their commitment to research to finding a cure paved the path for all researchers, including me. To receive this award in their honor is a real tribute.”
In 1986, Dr. Tanzi was among the first investigators to discover the APP gene, which would later be identified as the first known Alzheimer’s gene. Seven years later, he was the lead investigator on the identification of the gene that causes Wilson’s disease, another neurological disorder. Then, in 1995, he was part of a team that found two more genes associated with Alzheimer’s.
Through the Cure Alzheimer’s FundTM, Dr. Tanzi has recruited a team of recognized leaders in Alzheimer’s research from seven leading research universities. They are dedicated to learning the fundamental pathology of the disease to accelerate development of a cure. This initial focus for Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is the Alzheimer’s Genome ProjectTM initiative, which will identify all remaining genes contributing to risk for the disease by the summer of 2008, therby idnetifying more targets for the development of therapeutic interventions.
“With the advances in technology today, this is an exciting time for Alzheimer’s research. We are on the cusp of making serious breakthroughs,” said Tanzi. “As we become more successful at identifying the genes that contribute to risk for Alzheimer’s, we’ll have more research opportunities to better understand the role of those genes in causing the disease which will lead us more quickly to finding a potential cure.”
Tanzi is the coauthor of several books, including Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease and New Frontiers in Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics. Dr. Tanzi also serves on more than a dozen editorial boards and the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Aging. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Rochester and earned his Ph.D. at Harvard, where he was later selected for the Harvard 100: Most Influential Alumni.
Also honored at the National Gala were Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who received the Chairman’s Leadership Award, and Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, daughter of the late Rita Hayworth, who received the 2007 Sargent and Eunice Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award.
Cure Alzheimer’s FundTM is a 501c3 public charity established to fund targeted research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer’s disease. For more information please visit http://www.curealzfund.org/