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$650 million commitment to Stanley Center at Broad Institute aims to galvanize mental illness research
Date:7/22/2014

the genetic risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and the initiation of therapeutic efforts based on those discoveries. Their gifts made possible the establishment of the Stanley Center at the Broad Institute in 2007 and helped support an international collaboration that today involves scientists in 25 countries. Stanley's new commitment is the culmination of a 25-year personal mission to discover the biology of psychiatric disorders and lay the groundwork for effective therapies.

"Human genomics has begun to reveal the causes of these disorders. We still have a long way to go, but for the first time we can point to specific genes and biological processes. It's now time to step on the gas pedal," Stanley said. "I am devoting my personal wealth to this goal. But it will take all of us – philanthropists, government funding agencies, scientists, patients, and families – working together to achieve it."

"This is a pivotal moment," said Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "We are finally beginning to gain the deep knowledge about these disorders that we have sought for decades."

Years of frustration give way to progress

Mental illness exacts an enormous human toll. The leading cause of disability in the United States, it affects millions and most often strikes patients while they are young and otherwise healthy. Biomedical researchers have struggled for years to understand the molecular causes of serious ailments such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Until five years ago, there was no clear scientific evidence around even a single gene that contributes to causing either disorder.

Research to develop new treatments has also stalled. No fundamentally new drugs have been introduced since the 1950s. All but a handful of pharmaceutical companies have abandoned the pursuit
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SOURCE Broad Institute
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