The Rainwater Charitable Foundation in Fort Worth, Texas, has announced the launch of a prize program designed to accelerate the development of new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases related to the accumulation of tau protein in the brain.
Through the Rainwater Prize Program, the foundation will award up to $10 million for groundbreaking discoveries, making it the largest brain research prize program created to date. The program aims to accelerate scientific progress by encouraging additional research into neurodegenerative diseases such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and recognizing scientific achievements that lead to new, more effective treatments.
Chaired by former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, the program will award prizes in three categories: the Rainwater Breakthrough Prize for Effective Treatments in PSP, which will come with a cash award of up to $10 million for a breakthrough treatment that is advanced to clinical trial; the Rainwater Milestone Prize for Advances in Tauopathy Research, which carries a cash award of up to $2 million for an investigator or investigators who provides a significant contribution to the understanding of tau-related diseases; and the Rainwater Prize for Outstanding Innovation in Neurodegenerative Research, which comes with a cash award of up to $250,000 for an investigator whose work has been deemed to make a significant contribution to the understanding of tau-related diseases.
"My dad understood that the research he was funding may not be able to help him directly, but he knew the work was important and was going to inevitably lead to better treatments for patients like him in the future," said Todd Rainwater, board chair of the Rainwater Charitable Foundation and son of the late investor and philanthropist Richard Rainwater, who was diagnosed with PSP in 2009. "He set a great example for all of us, and we hope others will join us in this mission to get closer to a cure."