Cleveland Clinic received $15.5 million from the Charles L. Shor Foundation for its future Neurological Institute building and epilepsy research, according to a news release.
Of that, $10 million is earmarked for the new building, and $5.5 million will support an epilepsy study exploring the link between stress and seizures. In honor of the donation, the Clinic will name its epilepsy center The Charles Shor Epilepsy Center.
The news was announced as part of a virtual event marking the Clinic's Founders Day last week, Feb. 26 — exactly 100 years after the opening ceremony of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
The new Neurological Institute building, plans for which the Clinic announced in 2019, will centralize outpatient neurological care on the health system's main campus, where services are currently spread across multiple buildings. The proposed building aims to provide integrated subspecialty care for patients with neurological conditions, according to the release, which notes that the design process is currently underway and construction is expected to begin next year.
A Cincinnati businessman and philanthropist, Shor grew his family company, Duro Bag Manufacturing, into the world's largest paper bag producer, according to the release. He was diagnosed with epilepsy in his 20s and had his first seizure at age 25.
More than 3 million people in the U.S. are living with epilepsy and, despite decades of research, barriers to progress remain, according to the release. Treatments available today are effective in controlling seizures in only 46% of adults, and a disproportionate number of patients with epilepsy suffer from faster decline in memory function when compared to age matched controls.
In the release, Shor called the Clinic's vision for neurological care inspiring.
"Neurological conditions, and specifically epilepsy, affect so many people in the prime of their lives," Shor said in a provided statement. "By directing these resources to the extraordinary team of doctors and researchers at Cleveland Clinic, I believe I can help to make a significant difference for people living with these diseases."
The new Neurological Institute building, which is to be supported largely by philanthropy, will feature advanced technology and house care teams in various neuroscience subspecialties, according to the release, which notes this will help enable a new level of clinical collaboration and individualized treatment planning.
As the nucleus for neurology-related distance health care and digitized data processing and management, the facility will offer patients who live far away access to Cleveland Clinic care. It will offer an array of services, including digitized patient evaluations, imaging, neuro simulation training, infusion therapy, neurodiagnostics and brain mapping suites, as well as research space dedicated to investigating new therapies.
The study that the foundation is supporting with a portion of its gift will explore the use of non-pharmacologic interventions like stress relief in controlling seizures. Dr. Imad Najm, director of The Charles Shor Epilepsy Center and vice chair of strategy and development at Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute, will lead the research team, which will examine the Clinic's research review process to determine whether stress relief can potentially reduce seizures and ultimately improve and prevent memory decline in patients with epilepsy, according to the release.
"The goal for our new Neurological Institute building is to have the infrastructure in place to not only stop diseases from progressing, but also prevent the neurological disorders from happening," said Najm, who is also the Joseph H. and Ellen B. Thomas Endowed Chair in Epilepsy. "The building is going to allow for a digital infrastructure where the medical teams and caregivers will have the ability to interact with the patient the second they step in the door."