Entrepreneur Mr Jimmy Mayer has donated a staggering £2.7 million to the University of Leicester to fund life-saving kidney research.
Mr Mayer, whose son suffers from kidney disease, has been highly impressed with the work carried out at the university.
The donation was announced yesterday, as academic leaders and patient representatives gather at the University of Leicester to showcase their renal research and tour new laboratory facilities with the donor, Mr Jimmy Mayer, and members of his family.
This is the second large gift Mr Mayer has made to further renal research at the University. In 2014, he gave £500,000 to the Leicester research team to fund the IgA Nephropathy research programme.
Mr. Mayer said: “When my son was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy in 2012 I, as any father, started to research to better understand this condition.
“I came across the great work of the fabulous team at Leicester. I hopped on a train for a visit and have ever since been their number one fan. It seemed to me that with a grant of this type they could continue to build on a very solid foundation.
“It is my sincere hope that with these efforts they can make significant progress toward a more complete understanding of IgA Nephropathy, improved treatment options and, perhaps even, a cure.”
The funding has been welcomed by the UK IgA Nephropathy Patient Group because of its potential to understand and eventually develop new drugs to treat one of the leading causes of kidney failure – IgA Nephropathy – across the world and to aid a global alliance of researchers to battle it in different populations.
The vital funding will support the work of a research group at the University of Leicester led by Professor Jonathan Barratt of the Department of Infection Immunity & Inflammation at the University. He is also an Honorary Consultant Nephrologist in the John Walls Renal Unit, Leicester General Hospital. Professor Barratt will hold the title of the Mayer Chair in Renal Medicine.
Professor Barratt said: “This donation will transform our approach to the study of this common cause of kidney disease.
“We hope to identify the key factors that cause IgA Nephropathy and which of these determine whether a patient with IgA Nephropathy develops kidney failure.
“Over the past three years I have got to know Jimmy and his son, David, and they have been incredibly supportive of our work here in Leicester.
“Both Jimmy and David have shown a keen interest in the recent scientific advances in kidney disease and have shown a real passion for understanding our work and how we are studying IgA nephropathy.
“Without their support the Leicester IgA Nephropathy group would not have had the same degree of scientific success we have experienced over the past three years.”
To watch the highlights from the event visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE3wOvRWQsA