COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Some of South Carolina’s leading researchers are joining forces in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

They are working to establish the first designated research center in South Carolina.

Earlier this year, South Carolina lawmakers allocated about $10 million for this initiative. The state’s top research universities, Clemson, University of South Carolina, and Medical University of South Carolina are partnering together to establish this research center.

They are set to apply for the designation through the National Institute on Aging by June 2024.

Taylor Wilson is the Director of Government Affairs for the South Carolina chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Wilson said, “This is a big deal for families facing dementia in South Carolina.”

Researchers said if approved, the center would provide benefits statewide. “It really allows us to do a couple things. The first is to provide the best and most up to date dementia research science to the state possible. The second is to bring clinical research to the backyards of people facing a dementia diagnosis,” Wilson said.

South Carolina is one of 20 states deemed ‘neurology deserts’, meaning there is a shortage of neurologists that is only expected to grow as cases increase. Wilson is hopeful a dedicated center will help the state increase the workforce in this field.

Currently, there are two designated Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers in North Carolina and one in Georgia.