JK Rowling donates £15 million to fund ground-breaking Edinburgh stem cell research centre

JK Rowling donates £15 million to fund ground-breaking Edinburgh stem cell research centre

JK Rowling has frequently talked about the effect of her mother’s death in influencing some of the themes of Harry Potter. But she is now marking her mother’s legacy with a substantial donation to fund research into stem cell therapy for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

Back in 1990 JK Rowling had the fully formed idea for Harry Potter and she started writing furiously. In December that same year, Rowling’s mother Anne died, aged only 45, having already lived with Multiple Sclerosis for 10 years. She died never knowing about the Harry Potter story and her daughter’s subsequent international success.

Following an initial donation from Rowling in 2010 the new centre will be named the University of Edinburgh’s Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic.

Rowling said; “None of us could have predicted the incredible progress that would be made in the field of regenerative neurology, with this clinic leading the charge. I am delighted to support the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic into a new phase of discovery and achievement as it realises its ambition to create a legacy of better outcomes for generations of people with MS and non-MS neurodegenerative diseases.”

She continues; “It’s a matter of great pride for me that the clinic has combined these lofty ambitions with practical, on the ground support and care for people with MS, regardless of stage and type – I’ve heard at first-hand what a difference this support can make. I am confident that the combination of clinical research and practical support delivered by Professor Siddharthan Chandran and his exemplary team will create a definitive step-change for people with MS and associated conditions.”

Rowling’s contribution will also support research projects focusing on invisible disabilities experienced by people living with MS – such as cognitive impairment and pain.

The facility is focused on MS and other neurological conditions. Its mission is to bring more clinical studies and trials to patients.

Experts at Edinburgh University hope the donation will have a lasting impact on people with the condition and their families. Director of the clinic

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, said; “Our research is shaped by listening to, and involving, individuals who are living with these tough conditions. The Anne Rowling Clinic’s vision is to offer everyone with MS or other neurodegenerative diseases, such as MND, the opportunity to participate in a suite of clinical studies and trials. This incredibly far-sighted and generous donation will unlock the potential of personalised medicine for people with MS in Scotland and further afield.”

Located in the Edinburgh Bioquarter around four miles south of Edinburgh city centre the Anne Rowling Clinic is researching treatment of the following conditions; Multiple Sclerosis; Motor Neurone Disease; Early-onset dementia; Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders; Huntington’s disease and Stroke due to brain haemorrhage.

The clinic was initially founded with a £10 million donation by Rowling in 2010 and officially opened by HRH the Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in January 2013.

The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic is actively conducting research and trials, more details of which can be found here.

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