Producer Ashok Amritraj is turning his focus to world of Alzheimer’s research. The United Nations goodwill ambassador is set to chair a study on aging, a joint project of the United States National Institutes of Health and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The project will be funded through the nonprofit BrightFocus Foundation.
“I am proud of my heritage and the privilege of having served India and the United Nations as a goodwill ambassador,” Amritraj said. “As someone whose family has been touched by Alzheimer’s, I was honored when BrightFocus reached out to me. It is a pleasure to offer my help and support because of the great respect I have for the innovative, high-risk, high-reward research they fund around the globe.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of the degenerative brain syndrome dementia, which currently affects 55 million people worldwide with nearly 10 million new cases a year, according to the World Health Organization. The project expansion will see research take place in 30 states across India, gathering samples from 7,200 study volunteers.
“Ashok has boldly stepped forward at this critical juncture for Alzheimer’s research,” said BrightFocus president and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller. “Scientists are making great progress, but with our world’s older population increasing so rapidly, there has never been a more urgent time to invest in a cure.”
Amritraj, CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment Group, and has produced films including “Bringing Down the House,” “The Young Messiah” and “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” He was named a U.N. goodwill ambassador in 2016. BrightFocus Foundation is a private funder of research to combat Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma, with a current commitment to 260 projects and $65 million invested worldwide.