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Toronto (April 18, 2019) - For Olympic gold medallist Adam Van Koeverden, a search for a cure for Parkinson's disease (PD) is personal. His father Joe is one of the 100,000 Canadians currently living with the disease.
"I hope the researchers at this symposium get inspired by each other's work," says Van Koeverden. "And I hope progress is made towards better treatments and eventually, a cure."
Van Koeverden is the emcee at an event kicking off the "Krembil Knowledge Gaps in Parkinson's Disease: Revision vs. Reconstruction" symposium, sponsored by the Krembil Brain Institute, from April 23 to 26.
The symposium is designed as a high-level brainstorming session, bringing together the top minds in PD research from around the world to debate how best to capitalize on current knowledge to speed up discovery, in the hopes it will lead to a disease-modifying therapeutic option for patients.
To do that, researchers will need to decide on a "Revision vs. Reconstruction" strategy.
"Knowing the clinical complexities about Parkinson's disease, knowing that we likely aren't dealing with a single disorder, can we simply make a revision in our current course of research and treatment for patients with PD or do we need to completely reconstruct our approach in order to move forward?" asks Dr. Anthony Lang, Senior Scientist, Krembil Brain Institute and Director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, UHN. "This is the big challenge now."
The unique format of the summit allows for less programming and more discussion. Each speaker represents a different approach to PD research, in order to facilitate as broad a perspective as possible.
With the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's expected to rise by more than 50 per cent by 2030, aligning efforts among researchers is key. "The answers to our most important questions depend on whether our views on Parkinson's are "revised" or "reconstructed," says Dr. Alberto Espay, keynote speaker and a neurologist at the University of Cincinnati. "So, the timing of this discussion is critical."
The Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital (UHN) is home to one of the world's largest and most comprehensive teams of physicians and scientists uniquely working hand-in-hand to prevent and confront problems of the brain and spine. One in three Canadians will experience a brain-related condition such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or Stroke in their lifetime. Through state-of-the-art patient care and advanced research, we are working relentlessly toward finding new treatments and cures.
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