Turing Foundation donates € 1,1 million to new leprosy research

Amsterdam, 18 March 2010 - The Turing Foundation, a charity founded in 2006, will donate €1.1 million for three innovative studies on leprosy. The Turing Foundation is the largest private donor of leprosy research in Europe and strives to eliminate leprosy as a deforming disease.

“Leprosy is a cruel, maiming disease, but the leprosy bacterium is actually surprisingly weak”, says Pieter Geelen, chairman of the Turing Foundation. “You will not be able to find the disease in Europe anymore, and in developing countries it is only barely surviving among the very poorest, partly because it may take years for the disease to manifest itself in a patient. Now for the first time, thanks to new medical insights, it is imaginable that we can rid the world of leprosy forever.”

For the next four years, the Turing Foundation will donate €1.100.264, bearing more than half of the costs of three leprosy studies by the TENLEP research consortium, Erasmus University and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), and the Leiden University Medical Centre. The Netherlands Leprosy Relief is the main co-funder of these studies:

  • TENLEP: “Treatment of Early Neuropathy in Leprosy” is a large-scale study in eight countries into the early treatment of nerve damage. During this four-year study, researchers will try to determine the best treatment for patients suffering from nerve injuries.

  • Erasmus University/ Royal Tropical Institute: The study “Impact of preventive interventions on the transmission of M. leprae” aims at gaining a better insight into the transmission of the leprosy bacterium and the effect of “profylactic” treatment. Such treatment consists of administering antibiotics to people who are not (yet) suffering from leprosy, but do live around leprosy patients.

  • Leiden University Medical Centre: “Identification of innate and adaptive immune biomarkers” is a study that concentrates on deciphering certain mechanisms within immune systems, this way gaining a better insight into leprosy reactions that lead to nerve damage. Its goal is to eventually develop strategies for the prediction, tracking, and prevention of nerve injury in leprosy.

About the Turing Foundation

In 2006, Pieter and Françoise Geelen donated the profits of the initial public offering of navigation company TomTom (€100 million) to their self-founded Turing Foundation. The Foundation contributes approximately €5 million every year to the prevention of leprosy, to education and nature conservation in developing countries, and art in the Netherlands.

Note to editors: not meant for publication

For more information, please contact:

Stichting Turing Foundation
Herengracht 514
1017 CC Amsterdam
Tel. 020-5200010