by Morgan Montalvo
UTSA’s College of Science has been chosen to distribute $5 million in prizes to whoever can best collect and centralize Alzheimer’s Disease research from around the world, WOAI News reports.
The Oskar Fischer Program, named for an early dementia researcher whose work was cut short by internment and death in a Nazi concentration camp, will offer a first prize of $2 million, two second prizes of $500,000 each, and four additional $250,000 awards, says the competition’s donor, retired National Instruments Corp. President and CEO James Truchard of Austin.
“Oskar Fischer published on a dozen patients with the symptoms that now are called Alzheimer’s Disease with pictures, drawings,” Truchard says, “the same year that Alzheimer published on one early-onset Alzheimer’s patient.”
Truchard says he decided upon a first-prize award substantial enough to attract individuals or teams talented enough to pull together and catalog decades and billions of dollars’ worth of experimentation and approximately 130,000 published research reports.
“I chose two million because I felt it would bring out more folks who really would put some serious effort into trying to figure out the best explanation,” says Truchard.
He says a simple explanation for Alzheimer’s Disease could already be out there, but to date undiscovered because research and findings, like puzzle pieces, can exist in isolation from each other.
Truchard says he chose UTSA as the program manager for the awards because of work by the school’s Brain Health Consortium on Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The Oskar Fischer Program starts in February 2019 and will continue for two years, at which panelists will select the winners.
According to current estimates, about 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. The number of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is expected to more than triple by 2050.