Cure in Mind. Cure in Sight. [Transcript]

Randall Bateman, MD, Director of the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network Trial Unit, Washington University School of Medicine – St. Louis, Missouri:
With drug development in general, a process of finding something that makes a substantial difference in a disease is a rare event. But the rewards in terms of having that event and being able to treat people—change the cookbook of medicine—that reward is so substantial that many of us are willing to continue to try even in the face of imposing odds and we all know that if you don't try at all or guaranteed to fail.

Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, Director, Neurodegenerative Diseases – University of California, San Francisco:
All of these diseases are diseases in which the risk increases with age. When you reach 85 you have a one in two chance of Alzheimer's disease and we as a nation need solve this problem before the problem bankrupts our society.

Stacy Pagos Haller, President and CEO, BrightFocus Foundation:
The organization was founded in 1973 by a family that realized at that time, well maybe it's the researchers that we need to support. And so this organization was out front four decades ago when nobody was thinking about funding research as a charity. We call ourselves BrightFocus because we want to end these diseases and shine a light on them.

David M. Holtzman, MD, Professor and Chairman of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine – St. Louis, Missouri:
BrightFocus gives grants to junior people as well as established investigators. That lets you really test novel ideas without having to get a huge grant from, let’s say, the National Institutes of Health.

Ilyas Washington, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center:
BrightFocus was the first major funder of my lab.

Gopal Thinakaran, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology, Neurology, and Pathology, The University of Chicago:
It’s been an extremely rewarding experience to be associated with the foundation.

Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS, Professor & Chairman of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine:
I've had the opportunity to receive support from BrightFocus and from its predecessor the American Health Assistance Foundation since I was in training. Without the support, I would not have been able to do those projects. Some of those projects led to important findings.

David M. Holtzman, MD, Professor and Chairman of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine – St. Louis, Missouri:
But they're really looking for very novel and new ideas to really jumpstart science and I think that's the difference. It serves a nice role in getting things going or not. I mean maybe something won't work and that's fine. You got to try it but they'll let you try that.

Angela Parent, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Neurobiology, The University of Chicago:
Yes, it's true. This is a different agency and definitely when you submit a grant there, you feel the people will review it and will understand what you're talking about.

Ilyas Washington, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Columbia University Medical Center
You tell yourself—hey I can actually do this. I can cure something; I can stop someone from losing their vision.

Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS, Professor & Chairman of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine:
To get that Aha! Moment, and let me tell you it doesn't come around that often, but when it does, it is such a great feeling.

Stacy Pagos Haller, President and CEO, BrightFocus Foundation:
The whole motivation is about changing the trajectory of a disease and knowing that your role in that can be significant and accelerating change. Change to improve people's lives, change to bring people together that should be, and most importantly to empower scientists who typically need to spend their time in a lab or with patients, and not trying to figure out where the next grant or resources are going to come from. They’re our rock stars; these are the people who are in the trenches that are changing lives forever, and that's why we believe in celebrating scientists and that's why we're celebrating them.

Narrator:
BrightFocus Foundation supports innovative research to end Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. BrightFocus has awarded nearly 200 million dollars to researchers worldwide. These funds have helped grantees receive numerous scientific awards including two Nobel prizes, 49 Met Life Foundation awards, 34 Potemkin prizes, among countless others. BrightFocus Foundation: Cure in Mind. Cure in Sight.

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