Blog Archives: Research

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.

BigBrain – What Does It Mean?

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?

Righting the Clinical Research "Enterprise"

When opening the Sunday Review section of the New York Times this past weekend,  I did a double-take as a topic of much discussion here at PDF was featured front and center – trumping commentary on the state of the economy, international relations and the latest political debate. “Do Clinical Trials Work?,” by Clifton Leaf serves as a primer on some of the key issues that prevail within the clinical research enterprise – the tension between scientific inquiry and patient priorities; the odds that study sponsors take when betting on the success of a potential therapy; and the disconnect between those who… read more Read More

Going 3D: The BigBrain Is A Gift That Keeps on Giving

This blog is part one in a series of three about the BigBrain. Do you remember the moment of putting on 3D glasses in a movie theater? There was awe and excitement as stories and images that were flat came to life. There was similar excitement yesterday when researchers reported in Science that they have created BigBrain, a high resolution 3D digital image of the brain. To understand the excitement, it’s important to understand that like a 3D movie, this image isn’t simply a flat picture of the brain. It is incredibly in-depth. Have you ever had an MRI? Well… read more Read More

Of Patents and Parkinson’s

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 Read More

The Challenges of Research Funding

Just a few weeks ago, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s grants review committee – comprising scientists and patient advocates – took on the task of deciding which of the 200 research grant applications we received would be approved for funding. PDF had the resources to fund only 10 worthy projects. Researchers working on innovative, viable projects continually face the challenge of limited available funding. And funders, such as government agencies and foundations like PDF, have to make difficult choices based on available resources. How can PDF meet the challenge to find sufficient funds to support the most promising research in tough economic… read more Read More