BrightFocus funds exceptional scientific research worldwide to defeat Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma and provides expert information on these heartbreaking diseases.
Cure in Mind. Cure in Sight.
Our generous, growing community of donors fuels the drive and brilliance of our scientists working around the world to save mind and sight.
Health equity starts in the lab, and disparities are a public health problem that must be solved to better prevent, treat, and cure mind and sight diseases.
Shooting for the Moon
We were founded in 1973, four years after man first set foot upon the moon.
Back then, people spoke of taking moonshots—ambitious, inspiring, and imaginative ideas leading to significant outcomes.
So when we began as The American Health Assistance Foundation, our mission mirrored this dogged determination. Our charter was to fund critical research to find cures for the most pressing health problems.
Our first success came by way of the artificial heart, one of the long-sought holy grails of modern medicine. With donor support, we funded early research to support the artificial heart program, including the first permanent implantation of an artificial heart in 1982.
Funding Rising Stars
From the start, we made a strategic commitment to invest in rising star scientists like Dr. Stanley Prusiner. BrightFocus-funded research contributed to his groundbreaking discovery and research defining diseases, like Mad Cow. His game-changing prion theory won him the 1997 Nobel Prize. Dr. Prusiner went on to serve as chair of our Alzheimer’s Disease Research Scientific Review Committee and is an honorary member of the BrightFocus Foundation Board of Directors.
For more than 50 years, BrightFocus and its flagship programs — Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research — have invested nearly $290 million in research grants, catalyzing thousands of scientific breakthroughs, life-enhancing treatments, and diagnostic tools.
BrightFocus has funded nearly $300 million in research grants to more than 6,000 researchers across 25 countries seeking cures for Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
In 2020, BrightFocus Foundation announced that three scientists renowned for scientific breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma — and who were given key early support from BrightFocus — have been elected as members of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, the congressionally-chartered body responsible for providing strategic guidance to the nation in these critically important research areas.
Pioneering an Alzheimer’s Test
Thanks to donors who support our Alzheimer’s Disease Research program, BrightFocus provided key, early funding to develop the first-ever blood test to diagnose Alzheimer’s through a blood sample. The PrecivityAD™ blood test is now in use in the United States and Europe, helping to boost early diagnosis and speed recruitment into clinical trials. Behind this game-changing breakthrough is a team of scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine and C₂N Diagnostics: Randall Bateman, MD; David Holtzman, MD; Joel Braunstein, MD, MBA; and Philip Verghese, PhD.
BrightFocus received the inaugural Impact Award from the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium, a U.S. Department of Defense public-private partnership. America’s military and veterans who have experienced repeated mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) have been found to be at 2-5 times the risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. BrightFocus is working to advance new protections through the scientific development of better treatments.
World Class Scientific Review
BrightFocus supports a scientific portfolio of over 287 research projects. These projects are guided by our world-class scientific review committees comprised of renowned leaders in their fields who recommend new research opportunities for BrightFocus to advance our mission. We take a comprehensive, 360° approach, exploring the full range of scientific paths toward better treatments and ultimately cures.
To be successful, we need more bright young minds searching.
To win, we need to take more moonshots.
BrightFocus is a leading source of private research funding to defeat Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. We are proud to fund the next generation of researchers; those pursuing novel, bold, and promising science.
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