The author J.K. Rowling, creator of the school boy wizard Harry Potter has given £10 million to Edinburgh University to establish a multiple sclerosis research clinic.
The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic is named after the author’s mother, who died of the disease at the age of 45.
The clinic will focus on patient-based studies to help find treatments that could slow the progression of the disease, working towards the eventual aim of stopping and reversing it. Work at the clinic will also provide insight into other degenerative neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Motor Neurone Disease.
The clinic follows on from the setting up of the Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research at the university in 2007, which has also received support from Rowling. “I cannot think of anything more important, or of more lasting value, than to help the university attract world-class minds in the field of neuroregeneration, to build on its long and illustrious history of medical research and, ultimately, to seek a cure,” Rowling said.
The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic will be based in a purpose-built facility within the university’s Chancellor’s Building, next to the city’s Royal Infirmary and within Edinburgh BioQuarter at Little France. This is the largest single donation that the university has received.
Clinical academics will work closely with a critical mass of researchers studying neurodegenerative disorders already based at the university. This will include expertise from the Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research, the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, the Centre for Neuroregeneration, Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research and Division of Clinical Sciences. There will also be a major emphasis on training the next generation of researchers.
Timothy O’Shea, Principal of Edinburgh University, said: “This exceptionally generous donation will provide great help in the worldwide effort to improve treatments for multiple sclerosis. Work at the clinic will build on the already existing important research strengths in neurodegenerative disorders at the university.”