The Foundation was established by Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson in 2006.
The Foundation grew from Sheldon Adelson's desire to understand why the pace of finding effective treatments for patients was so slow. Drawing upon the experiences of doctor-wife Dr. Miriam Adelson and Dr. Bruce Dobkin, Mr. Adelson brought his vast business experiences and instincts to work to reconfigure how biomedical research might move more efficiently.
Mr. Adelson found that progress in medical discovery was confounded by secrecy about new scientific findings until journal papers were published or grants were funded, biotechnology owned by industry that was kept out of the hands of academic investigators, and a system that did not encourage risking large scientific steps. Bright investigators were living in isolation and spending precious time trying to obtain funds from the traditional government funding sources and foundations, many times competing with their peers for scarce resources.
The Adelsons and Dr. Dobkin decided to form a pilot program to test a new model of collaborative research. One that would break down the barriers that had caused scientific investigators to become isolated. The new pilot program was called the Adelson Program in Neural Repair and Rehabilitation, which would not be bounded by any particular disease.
Rather, many investigators from different disciplines, geographies and institutions would gather to work together to identify problems and solutions to neurological disease. And they would pool their knowledge and resources as collaborators. Then they would determine which clinically oriented projects were most promising.
The Foundation funds institutions that have the creative science projects on which the peers agree. The collaborations among basic and clinical researchers who participate in the Foundation's programs challenge scientists to enrich, broaden, embolden, and verify the experiments of each other. The collaborators drive their most robust findings into proofs of concept about treatments designed to benefit patients.