Garvan Institute marks 200th anniversary of Parkinson’s disease

Today, World Parkinson’s Day marks 200 years since the disease was first identified by Dr James Parkinson.

Prof John Mattick, A/Prof Antony Cooper, Mr Geoff Dixon, Dr Richard Wyse, Prof Michael Schwarzschild

Media Release: 11 April 2017

Today, World Parkinson’s Day marks 200 years since the disease was first identified by Dr James Parkinson.

Despite ongoing research efforts, it is still not known what causes Parkinson’s and there is no cure for the 80,000 Australians affected by the disease. While there are treatments available, they only address the symptoms, not the progression of the disease.

Garvan, along with national and international leaders in Parkinson’s research and neurologists and patients, is committed to making a difference for those with Parkinson’s and their families. In the lead up to World Parkinson’s Day, Garvan hosted a collaborative two-day meeting with representatives from The Cure Parkinson’s Trust in the UK, Shake It Up Foundation Australia (partner of The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research), and Parkinson’s Australia, people living with Parkinson’s and leading researchers and neurologists. Participants discussed a number of aspects relating to Parkinson’s disease research around the globe, including an initiative to conduct clinical trials in Australia.

Today, Garvan is holding a free public seminar about Parkinson’s disease and much-needed research into this debilitating disease.

The seminar will feature Associate Professor Antony Cooper, Head of Garvan’s Neuroscience Division, as well as Dr Richard Wyse, Director of Research and Development at The Cure Parkinson’s Trust in the UK; Professor Michael Schwarzschild, Attending Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, and Mr Clyde Campbell, Founder and Chair of Shake It Up Australia Foundation.

Associate Professor Cooper will detail Garvan’s Parkinson’s research during the seminar, saying: “Our Parkinson’s disease research focuses on translating scientific discoveries into the clinic.  We are coming at this disease from a number of angles – from trying to define characteristics of the disease, and using this information to develop biomarkers for use in clinical trials or to diagnose the disease earlier; to discovering ways to prevent the disease from progressing.”

Dr Richard Wyse, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Director of Research and Development created the Linked Clinical Trials Program; an international initiative which identifies existing therapeutic options from other diseases that have the potential to change the course of Parkinson’s, and accelerates their advance into patient clinical trials. During Garvan’s seminar he will address the importance of developing clinical trials of potentially disease modifying treatments.

“The success of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Linked Clinical Trials programme is founded on three basic principles.  Firstly, it accelerates prospective new Parkinson’s treatments into the clinic where people with Parkinson’s urgently need therapies which slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s.  Secondly, the initiative provides a platform through which a culture of global partnership and collaboration can be generated.  Finally, we have assembled the best Parkinson’s scientists from around the world to prioritise identifying which compounds offer the most exciting opportunities to improve the lives of those people who live with this condition,” said Dr Wyse.

Professor Schwarzschild will highlight progress toward improved treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Mr Campbell will share his experiences from diagnosis to making a difference in Parkinson’s research through Shake It Up Australia Foundation.

Garvan’s Parkinson’s disease public seminar can be live streamed from 10am-12pm on 11 April via its website.

To view videos of the Parkinson’s disease public seminar, or to make a donation to support Garvan’s Parkinson’s disease research, visit www.garvan.org.au. 

Ends 

Notes to editors:

About the Garvan Institute: Garvan Institute of Medical Research is a world leading biomedical research institute in Sydney, pioneering study into some of the most widespread diseases of today. It aims to understand the genetic, molecular and cellular processes of health and disease as a basis for developing future cures. www.garvan.org.au

About The Cure Parkinson’s Trust: The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, UK is a patient led charity which funds research that will have an impact on the lives of the 10 million people living with Parkinson’s, with the hope of an eventual cure for the condition. We fund trials into potential new treatments to slow, halt or reverse Parkinson’s. Our mission is to obliterate Parkinson’s once and for all. www.cureparkinsons.org.uk

About Shake It Up Australia Foundation: Shake It Up Australia Foundation has one aim: to find a cure for Parkinson’s. Our purpose is to fund research that advances treatments for Parkinson’s’ on the path to a cure. www.shakeitup.org.au

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