Press Release

29 Sep 2014

First-of-its-kind live global webcast to highlight advances in Parkinson’s disease

Van Andel Institute to Participate in World Parkinson Coalition® Scientific Update on Parkinson’s

New York, NY – Despite an estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinson’s disease, researchers are still working to understand its causes and find a cure. To highlight the latest advances in the disease’s research and bring together the international Parkinson’s community, Dr. Patrik Brundin, Associate Director of Research and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease at Van Andel Institute, will join the World Parkinson Coalition® (WPC) as it hosts the unique WPC Scientific Update: Parkinson Pipeline Umbrella, a free first-of-its-kind live three-day webcast.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that is characterized by four primary symptoms: tremors in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; muscular rigidity or stiffness; slowness of movement; and impaired balance and coordination. In the U.S., the disease impacts nearly a million people. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatment options in the form of medications and surgery can help with some symptoms. Researchers and scientists are working to learn more about the disease and its possible causes, including genetic and environmental factors.

“Ongoing progress in Parkinson’s research and care is exciting, and we have built an international community of medical professionals and families that are committed to advancing it together,” said WPC Executive Director, Elizabeth Pollard. “We are thrilled that Dr. Brundin has agreed to be a part of this outstanding online program. He has participated in past World Parkinson Congresses as a presenter, so this online scientific update is a continuation of his strong commitment to elevate awareness of Parkinson’s disease. The WPC Scientific Update is our way to help bring the community together more often.”

The WPC has hosted an international World Parkinson Congress three times since 2006. By bringing together physicians, scientists, nurses, rehabilitation specialists, caregivers, and people with Parkinson’s disease under one roof, the WPC is creating a growing worldwide dialogue to help expedite the discovery of a cure and best treatment practices for this devastating disease. More than 3,300 people from 64 countries attended the most recent Congress in 2013, held in Montreal, Canada.

The inaugural WPC Scientific Update—a new interim meeting offered between the in-person Congresses—features some of the most renowned Parkinson’s disease experts from around the world, including Dr. Brundin. An expert in neurology, he will discuss The Limits of Dopaminergic Disease Modifying Strategies in an Non-motor Symptom World during the Scientific Update.

“Engaging all of the stakeholders in Parkinson’s research—scientists, clinicians, advocates, caregivers and people with Parkinson’s—is a crucial step in moving the dialogue about Parkinson’s and potential new therapies forward,” Dr. Brundin said. “I am thrilled to be a part of the WPC Scientific Update, which is a great touch point between Congresses.”

The 2014 Scientific Update will run from September 30 to October 2, 2014, with twice daily live interactive online panels.

Participants will be able to engage with panelists on topics such as:

  • Recent developments in the field of oral and non-oral drug delivery
  • Diagnostic accuracy
  • Challenges in the treatment pipeline for new Parkinson’s medications
  • Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s that dopamine treatments have limited ability to affect
  • The role of personalized medicine and how researchers feel personalized medicine will change the lives of people living with Parkinson’s

To register for the free WPC Scientific Update, visit http://www.worldpdcoalition.org/webcast. The next World Parkinson Congress is scheduled for September 2016 in Portland, Oregon.

Contact: Christiana Thurton
christiana@worldpdcoalition.org
Tel: 646.388.7688

About Van Andel Research Institute

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), VAI’s research arm, is dedicated to studying the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. Find out more about Van Andel Institute or donate by visiting www.vai.org. 100% To Research, Discovery & Hope®.