A nurse holds the hands of a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease on September 21, 2009 at Les Fontaines retirement home in Lutterbach.
Sebastien Bozon / Getty Images

Alabama scientists are using the money to help find a cure.

Genetic scientists in Alabama just received a gift they won’t soon forget.

Thanks to a $2.5 million anonymous donation, the HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology in Huntsville will begin sequencing the complete genetic makeup of 1,500 patients — a study they hope will lead to earlier diagnosis and new treatments for Alzheimer disease. The donation was made in December to the institute's M&M Fund.

"We are overwhelmed with gratitude and deeply humbled. This generous gift allows us to begin a unique Alzheimer disease project that has the potential to lead to earlier diagnosis and new treatments," lead researcher Dr. Rick Myers, HudsonAlpha's president and science director, told AL.com.

Myers' team hopes to create an early "picture" of the disease, the institute said.

"HudsonAlpha has a rare opportunity to conduct truly groundbreaking research in Alzheimer disease through this project. What we learn could help us diagnose earlier, monitor treatments better and lead to drug discoveries for new treatments," Myers said.

The generous donation gives the institute access to 750 more patient samples. AL reports that in order to finish research on the entire set of patients, the institute still needs another $1.5 million.

"These diseases impact tens of millions of people every year, and their families as well. I believe we will change their stories through this work. It is an incredibly compelling reason to give," Myers said.

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