Sunday, March 23, 2014
The Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation Changes Its Name to Celebrate Its First Decade of Breakthroughs
In conjunction with its tenth anniversary, the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF), the nation’s leader in accelerating research towards improving learning, memory, and speech for people with Down syndrome, announces its new identity as the LuMind Foundation, and celebrates World Down Syndrome Day with a match: donations will earn 3:1 on March 21.
To reflect the awareness and focus DSRTF has brought to the field of Ds cognition research, the organization will now be known as the LuMind Foundation. The name has its origin in the words lumen, a measure of light, and mind. “We’re proud to be shining light on the powerful potential of cognition research,” says Carolyn Cronin, Executive Director of the LuMind Foundation, contextualizing the new name. “Our continuing mission is to make a brighter future possible for people with Ds, to enhance their learning, and to delay or halt the cognitive decline they experience at an earlier age — in a word, to illuminate. We’re excited to move forward with an identity that underscores our values.”
Since its founding in 2004, the LuMind Foundation has led efforts to develop treatments to enhance cognition for children and adults with Ds, generating nearly $10 million to support research projects that aim to identify treatments to improve learning, memory, and speech and forestall the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease that many people with Ds experience.
From the time of its inception, when people still believed Ds was too complicated a condition to treat, the LuMind Foundation has been instrumental in stimulating engagement and progress, resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of researchers working in the field and the initiation of groundbreaking clinical trials for potential treatments. Researchers call these results unprecedented. “The advances in just the last five years are truly amazing,” says Dr. Roger Reeves, a pioneering Down syndrome researcher at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and cites the LuMind Foundation as “a game-changer” for cognition research.
“Progress has been truly remarkable over the past few years. The field has moved more rapidly than virtually anything I have ever been involved with,” agrees Dr. Michael Harpold, the organization’s Chief Scientific Officer. “In the span of a single decade, researchers have made great strides towards identifying the mechanisms associated with intellectual disability in people with Ds, understanding the links between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, and finding possible pathways for treatment.” Researchers agree that the foundation’s work has been instrumental in speeding these advances: “The LuMind Foundation has had an impact out of proportion to its size in the past several years,” says Dr. Reeves.
As part of the global celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, the LuMind Foundation announces that donations on Friday, March 21, 2014 will earn 3:1. “For the third year running, we’re maximizing the impact of our supporters’ contributions,” says Sarah Wernikoff, chair of the LuMind Foundation’s board and parent of a child with Down syndrome. “Grassroots support of research is essential to its success. Our World Down Syndrome Day matching program gives people a strong incentive to show their commitment to the urgent work we fund. We thank all our friends and supporters for their confidence in this research, and for their investment in a future of greater opportunity and independence for people with Ds.”
About the LuMind Foundation
The LuMind Foundation, formerly the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF), is a national non-profit organization headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, aimed at accelerating the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, for individuals with Down syndrome. LuMind funds research at major research centers, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, Stanford University, University of California, San Diego, and University of Arizona. Since its founding in 2004, the LuMind Foundation has committed more than $9 million to fund results-driven research programs that will benefit children and adults with Down syndrome, and has been instrumental in the initiation of clinical trials now underway.