How will we create a world without Parkinson’s? On June 1, the Parkinson’s Foundation is asking scientists to answer this question at our cutting-edge scientific event, “World Without Parkinson’s.” Our team predicts that scientific progress in the next 20 years outpace progress of the last 200 since James Parkinson published, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy.
How will we get there? In this blog, the third in our series, Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the World Without Parkinson’s event, and Chair of Parkinson’s Research at the Van Andel Research Institute, weighs in.
Q. In one month, we’ll gather for World Without Parkinson’s. Why are you a part of it?
A. I was very excited to be invited to this event and help shape its content. We are fortunate to have many thought leaders in the field participating — people who have the ability to think outside of the box with an eye on the future. I am very much looking forward to spending a whole day discussing new possibilities with them for Parkinson’s disease.
Q. How does understanding the biology of Parkinson’s bring us closer to a world without PD?
A. Understanding the molecules that play a role in Parkinson’s disease give us the possibility to interfere in the disease process with novel therapies. During the past 10 to 20 years, there has been a revolution in our understanding of the complexity of Parkinson’s. Although we’re still missing some key parts of the puzzle, I believe they could come at any time.
Q. What do you hope to see as an outcome of the World Without Parkinson’s event?
A. I would be delighted if the conference sparks new ideas that lead to improved care, diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s. Ultimately, I want this event to represent the starting point for the coming two decades during which I believe we will move closer to ending Parkinson’s as we know it today.
Q. What makes you hopeful about Parkinson’s science today?
A. Never before in history have we known more about Parkinson’s than we do now. Some of the recent knowledge we’ve acquired goes beyond being incremental—it really has been paradigm shifting. Furthermore, I have a gut feeling that finally, after so many years, there might be disease-modifying breakthroughs on the horizon. Having the Parkinson’s community involved in this process is essential so researchers remain focused on the most important clinical problems.
Are you a scientist or health innovator? Learn about World Without Parkinson’s by visiting www.parkinsonsfoundation.org/wwp