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Gleason Institute: FAQs

What is it?
The Steve Gleason Institute for Neuroscience is a research and care center focusing on discovery, care and cure for neurodegenerative diseases. Such diseases are caused by the cumulative death of brain cells, resulting in a loss of brain function. That includes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

What will it do?
Initially, there will be three units:

  • The Clinical Research and Care Unit focusing on motor and cognitive therapy and supporting clinical trials of new medications or treatments;
  • The Assistive Technology and Smart Home Center for patient exposure, training, and the advancement of augmented reality, virtual reality, brain-machine interfaces and prosthetic devices;
  • The Discovery Research Unit with laboratories and shared facilities for scientists and support staff.

Who’s involved?
WSU Health Sciences Spokane, Team Gleason, Avista, Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County (HSSA), St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, Providence Health Care, MultiCare, City of Spokane, and the University District.

What’s Team Gleason’s role?
Team Gleason shares an interest in treating and curing neurodegenerative disease and has many established relationships with those who want to partner in building the institute. It will act as a convener for WSU and other partners.

When will it open?
The second half of 2019

Where’s it located?
325 E. Sprague Avenue, just south of WSU Health Sciences. The location is connected to the campus via the newly opened University District Gateway Bridge. Avista Development owns the building, and leases it to WSU’s Gleason Institute for a nominal fee.

How is it funded?
Both the Avista Foundation and HSSA were early backers of the institute, contributing substantially to allow WSU to hire key personnel and initial establishment of the Institute’s activities. Fund-raising is under way to expand operations, complete building renovations, and launch research and patient-care operations. The institute will be funded by public and private donations.

What will come out of it?
New assistive technologies to help patients living with neurodegenerative disease; new approaches to care; and meaningful research discoveries that could ultimately lead to cures.

How does this fit in with research, treatment and care already offered in the area?
The Gleason Institute recognizes the significant work already being done in the region by health care organizations and nonprofits that provide support to families and caregivers. Its aim is to offer a new center for collaboration and discovery, and to collaborate with organizations doing neurodegenerative disease health care and research.

Are WSU Spokane students involved?
It’s anticipated that the Gleason Institute will provide opportunities for health sciences students in the region to participate in its research and care work in the future.

What kind of neuroscience research is WSU doing?
WSU has research under way throughout its system on the causes and treatments of neurodegenerative disease. The formation of the Gleason Institute is expected to give those researchers new avenues to pursue their work in partnership with medical professionals, patients and caregivers.

How will partners be involved?
Some partners will collaborate on research or clinical trials at the Gleason Institute. Others will provide financial support to help create a new economic driver for the region’s innovation economy.