JK Rowling gifts £15m for MS research

Harry Potter author’s “generous” donation to support research at Edinburgh University clinic named in memory of her mother

Thursday 12th September 2019

Author JK Rowling has donated £15.3m to improve the lives of people with multiple sclerosis and similar conditions.

The investment will help create new facilities and support vital research at Edinburgh University’s Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic.

The clinic focuses on MS and neurological conditions with the aim of bringing more clinical studies and trials to patients.

It was set up following a previous donation from Ms Rowling in 2010 and named in memory of her mother, who died of MS aged 45.

Other conditions studied at the clinic include, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

The latest gift from the Harry Potter author will also support research projects focusing on the invisible disabilities experienced by people living with MS, such as memory problems and pain.

Ms Rowling said she was confident the combination of clinical research and practical support delivered at the centre will create a “definitive step-change” for people with MS and associated conditions.

She said: “When the Anne Rowling Clinic was first founded, none of us could have predicted the incredible progress that would be made in the field of regenerative neurology, with the Clinic leading the charge.

“I am delighted to now 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. 

“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.”

Scotland has one of the highest global rates of MS, with a map published earlier this year highlighting stark regional differences – the reasons for which are not entirely clear.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, director of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, said the “generous” donation would unlock the potential of personalised medicine for people with MS.

He added: “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.”

University of Edinburgh Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Mathieson, said: “This inspiring donation will fund a whole new generation of researchers who are focussed on discovering and delivering better treatments and therapies for patients.”