Blog Archives: Research

Patient Engagement Works: Lessons from the Learning Institute Year Eight

Two weeks ago, I sat in the back of a conference room in New Jersey, watching events unfold at PDF’s most recent Parkinson’s Advocates in Research Learning Institute, as I have for the past seven years. For the eighth year in a row, we were prepping a group of people with PD and care partners to understand the research process and how they can pair up with researchers to improve it. As I sat there, planning details for the next day and ways to make the training better, I looked up and it hit me – it is working.

Funding the Future of PD Science: Q&A with Student Fellow William Johnson, M.S.

How did you spend your summer vacation? The students supported by PDF’s Summer Student Fellowship Program — a group that includes undergraduates and medical students — spend their summers working on PD-related research projects with mentors who have expertise in the field. Typically, fellowships are offered for 10 weeks with an award of $4,000. Recently, we sat down with former Fellow Will Johnson, M.S., a pharmacology student at Case Western Reserve University, who was awarded funding in 2013, for a project entitled, “Investigating the role of enzyme mediated neuronal protection in Parkinson’s,” to hear about his summer and what he learned about… read more Read More

From Skin Cells to Brain Cells: How PDF Fellows Are Using Genetics to Move the Field Forward

For the past three years, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation has been funding the research of young scientists in the New York metro area through our Lucien Côté Clinical Genetics Initiative. It’s exciting because in studying how genes are affected by Parkinson’s, we can learn more about what goes wrong with PD overall … even in cases without a genetic cause. Last Wednesday, we had a visit with two awardees and their faculty mentors at PDF’s office to get an update about their research. Both awardees are using an experimental technique called “induced-pluripotent stem cells” where they can actually take skin cells… read more Read More

Two New Drugs for PD: A Caregiver & Advocate Speaks Out

Last month, it was announced that two new drugs were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, for treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Both drugs, Rytary™ and Duopa™, are updates to carbidopa/levodopa. They offer, respectively, a newer formulation and delivery method to reduce off-times for those with PD. In this Q&A, PDF speaks with Myra Hirschhorn, one of our trained Research Advocates, to understand the community reaction to the approvals. As part of the Parkinson’s Advocates in Research program, Myra has been trained in the drug development process, and educates her community about research.

The Many Lives of Levodopa

The start of 2015 has been noteworthy for those with Parkinson’s disease (PD) as two new therapies  – Rytary™ and Duopa™ – were approved by the FDA at the start of January. Both therapies are updates to the gold-standard treatment of carbidopa/levodopa for those with PD. Manufacturers of both therapies hope to have the medications available on pharmacy shelves in the next few months. Yes, carbidopa/levodopa first came into use around 1970. However, these new therapies address a real need that current carbidopa/levodopa or Sinemet cannot meet … and that is good news. PDF has covered what Rytary and Duopa are (check out my… read more Read More

Science Summary from SfN 2014

When 30,000 neuroscientists gather together to talk about the brain, what can we learn about Parkinson’s disease? Our team found out at the latest meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting in Washington, DC, which took place in November. At the meeting, PDF’s James Beck, Ph.D., VP for Scientific Affairs, and Beth Vernaleo, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Research Programs, were joined by PDF Research Advocates Todd Hebb and Paul Zimmet, D.D.S., both of whom live with PD. (Drs. Zimmet and Vernaleo are pictured inset).