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.
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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.
Last month, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke stopped one of the largest clinical trials for Parkinson’s disease to date. This trial was investigating whether a nutritional supplement, creatine, might have potential to treat Parkinson’s disease.
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.
From James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs This blog is part two in a series of three about the BigBrain. Several weeks ago saw the announcement of a description of a new and highly detailed atlas of the brain, called BigBrain. PDF wrote about how one person, making the decision to donate their brain, has made a significant contribution to science. Indeed, that is true. But what does this really mean for the future of neuroscience … and Parkinson’s research?
From James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs Should or could a human gene be patented? On June 13th, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered their unanimous ruling regarding what has been called the Myraid Genetics case. The plaintiffs in this case sought to invalidate Myriad’s patent on two genes that when mutated can lead to a significant increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Because of the patent for these two genes, Myriad, a clinical diagnostic testing company, was the only entity that was permitted to perform the clinical tests that can both inform women if they… Read More