"Grand Challenges in Parkinson's Disease - From Molecules to People" will highlight current efforts to develop novel interventions to stop or retar the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). The development of disease-modifying therapies for PD is urgently needed to improve the quality of life of people with PD and to reduce the financial burden of PD. "Grand Challenges in Parkinson's Disease - From Molecules to People" gathers experts both from basic and clinical research and will include world-class speakers who will give overviews covering every step in the development of effective drug therapies, from the identification of unmet medical needs;target identification and validation;drug screening and discovery, to clinical trial design.
We aim to (i) Educate the audience regarding the multiple steps required to move laboratory discoveries to patients;(ii) Offer a cross-disciplinary forum fo discussions on the limitations of current approaches to the development of disease-modifying therapies for PD;(iii) Establish a solid interaction with people with PD, including their active participation as lecturers, discussants, attendees and organizers;(iv) Create opportunities to network and exchange ideas for potential collaborations;and (v) Promote relevant discussions among the participants. The conference has been designed to cover as many aspects as possible of a selected topic in a focused program, gathering leading scientists in that particular topic. This year the focus will be on the challenges that have been identified in the development of therapies against PD and to novel discoveries of therapeutic relevance. The program consists of 5 sessions, (i) Unmet Medical Needs;(ii) Animal Models of Parkinson's Disease;(iii) Target Discovery And Validation;(iv) High Throughput Screening and Drug Development;(v) Clinical Trial Design And Outcome Measures. This focused approach allows us to encompass experts from different fields in a format that facilitates interactions;these experts would normally not gather unless the conference format is large enough (e.g., World Parkinson's Congress). Our approach has ensured the participation of researchers, clinicians, postdocs, graduate students, as well as of people with PD and their family members, in a welcoming environment that guarantees high degree of interaction.
The proposed conference is relevant to public health because the gathering of experts to discuss the major current challenges in the development of therapies for Parkinson's disease (PD) is expected to allow us to accelerate the generation of tools to improve the quality of life of people with PD. The proposed conference is relevant to the missions of NIH and NINDS because it aims to catalyze the development of therapies to stop PD progression and eventually reduce the financial burden and significant morbidity associated with advanced PD.