PDF Contributing Author:

James Beck, Ph.D., Vice President, Scientific Affairs

Bio

James Beck, Ph.D., is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Dr. Beck has led PDF's scientific affairs since he joined the organization in 2008. In this role, he oversees PDF’s research grants programs, including management of programs that support research centers, individual investigators, fellows and collaborative projects. View Dr. Beck's full biography on the PDF website at www.pdf.org/bio_beck.

Articles by this Author:


Creativity and the Parkinson’s Mind

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation has long recognized the creative abilities that many people with Parkinson’s disease acquire when living with the disease. We even capture many of these expressions on our website with some of the best examples appearing in our acclaimed annual calendar (which you can now pre-order for 2015 here).

Northera Approved by FDA

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appeared to be ready to approve a new drug for neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH), which, basically, is a precipitous drop in blood pressure upon standing. (I recommend reading that blog as a good primer.) That drug, droxidopa with the brand name of Northera™, did not win approval because of outstanding concerns by FDA. Fast-forward to this week, and FDA has now signaled that it will approve droxidopa for the treatment of NOH.

Saving Basic Research, Saving Future Cures

The effort to cure diseases like Parkinson’s disease is on the minds of many people during this time of year.  We are often traveling home to see loved ones where we learn about new diagnoses or new stages in the disease that they battle, or we are remembering those who bravely fought their battle with Parkinson’s, yet lost. It is understandable, therefore, why there is a push to fund only research that is the closest to bringing about a cure, so-called translational research.

Genetic Testing: FDA & The Importance of Getting it Right

Several months ago, I broached the issue of direct-to-consumer genetic testing in PD. There, my message was that you should look before you leap and take the time to understand what genetic testing would tell you (and whether you really wanted to know it). Implicit in that discussion is the need to have accurate results. This is different than the desire to have the weather forecaster tell you if it is going to rain or not tomorrow. For most people, inaccurate weather predictions are a nuisance more than anything.

Old Drugs – New Cures?

From James Beck, Ph.D., Vice President of Research Programs Using old drugs as new cures seems like a surefire winner. It may be. However, after attending a recent meeting outside London hosted by the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, a small yet impactful British charity, it is clear that this path is neither clear nor easy. A committee of experts at the meeting evaluated and prioritized dozens of existing compounds – many are drugs used to treat other diseases – based upon their potential to stop Parkinson’s disease.