Tagged: 2019

2019: Year in review

 

In this end-of-year post, we review the Parkinson’s research that caught our attention at SoPD HQ in 2019.

Month-by-month we will briefly discuss some of the major pieces of research/announcements that have defined the year and advanced our understanding of Parkinson’s. The list is based on nothing more than the author’s personal opinion – apologies to any researchers who feel left out – and the contents should certainly not be considered definitive or exhaustive.

It was just some of the stuff that made me say “wow” in 2019.

And in the next post, we will conduct our annual horizon scan and consider what 2020 may have in store for us.

 


Source: a-star

2019 was a productive year for the Parkinson’s research community.

Wait a minute. Hold your horses. What is that statement based on?

If we use number of research report published in 2019 as our measure, there was a total of 8094 articles added to the Pubmed website with the tag word “Parkinson’s” attached (compared to 7672 for all of 2018 and 7675 for 2017). That sounds rather productive.

In addition, there were a host of new clinical trials initiatiated, many of which are exploring entirely new experimental therapies. These include:

  • UDCA (aka Ursodeoxycholic acid) – A bial acid therapy used for reducing gall stones that may improve mitochondrial function entered Phase II testing for Parkinson’s (Click here to read a SoPD post on the topic).
  • PR001 – A gene therapy targetting GBA-associated Parkinson’s (Click here to read a SoPD post about this).
  • CNM-Au8 – Gold nanoparticles entered Phase II testing for Parkinson’s (Click here to read an SoPD post about this research).
  • Terazosin – This prostatic hyperplasia and hypertension drug was found to enhance Phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (Pgk1) activation & a Phase II trial was immediately initiatiated (Click here to read an SoPD post on this topic).
  • Inzomelid – An NLRP3 inhibitor from Inflazome began Phase I testing (Click here to read a SoPD post on this topic).

On top of all of this, numerous novel potenially therapeutic pathways were proposed, such as:

  • Farnesyltransferase inhibition (Click here to read a SoPD post on the topic)
  • Miro1 degradation (Click here to read an SoPD post on the topic).
  • CD22 inhibition (Click here to read a SoPD post on this topic).
  • Felodipine – Researchers discovered that this L-type calcium channel blocker & anti-hypertensive drug boosts waste disposal (or autophagy) in mouse brains (Click here to read an SoPD post on the topic).

Plus, there were a number of major Parkinson’s research organisations launched, including the Australian Parkinson’s Mission (Click here to read more about this), Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP – click here to read more about this), the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Parkinson’s disease (or AMP-PD) initiative (Click here to read more about this), and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Based on all of this, I think it is safe to say that 2019 was a productive year for Parkinson’s research.

Ok, all of that sounds great, but what does that mean for someone living with the condition?

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Monthy research review – December 2019

 

At the end of each month the SoPD writes a post which provides an overview of some of the major pieces of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available during December 2019.

The post is divided into seven parts based on the type of research:

  • Basic biology
  • Disease mechanism
  • Clinical research
  • New clinical trials
  • Clinical trial news
  • Other news
  • Review articles/videos

 


So, what happened during December 2019?

In world news:

December 1-31st – Bush fire continued to rage across Eastern Australia. In New South Wales alone more than 3 million hectares have burned (compared to a total of 900,000 hectares in the Amazon for all of 2019 – Source). Prime Minister Scott Morrison returned home from holiday and signaled “no change” to Australia’s climate policy.

 

December 10 – Sanna Marin, at the age of 34, became the world’s youngest serving prime minister after being selected to lead Finland’s Social Democratic Party.

December 13th – “Away from the manger” – Sully the camel, Gus the donkey and Rufus the cow were discovered by authorities wandering (towards a Northern star) when they should have been part of the nativity exhibit at the Tanganyika Wildlife Park (Click here to read more about this).

December 30 – Chinese authorities announced that researcher He Jiankui, who claimed to have created the world’s first genetically edited human babies, has been sentenced to three years in prison and fined 3 million yuan (US$430,000) for his genetic research.

In the world of Parkinson’s research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

In December 2019, there were 792 research articles added to the Pubmed website with the tag word “Parkinson’s” attached (8075 for all of 2019). In addition, there was a wave to news reports regarding various other bits of Parkinson’s research activity (clinical trials, etc).

The top 5 pieces of Parkinson’s news

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The 2019 World Parkinson’s Congress

 

I have a request to make of readers.

I have been invited – with Parkinson’s advocate AC Woolnough – to conduct a round table at the upcoming 2019 World Parkinson’s Congress meeting in Kyoto. The round table is a discussion involving 10-20 people sitting around a table. Our topic will be how can we better align the efforts of researchers and patients.

And this is where we would like your help. Or at least, we would like your input.

Specifically, we are seeking topics for discussion at the table regarding how we can better join the goals/focus of the community on the research side of things.

In today’s post, we look at what the World Parkinson’s congress is, how the round table topic came about, and what we are currently thinking regarding the structure of our roundtable session.

 


Yasaka Pagoda and Sannen Zaka Street. Source: JT

It was the capital of Japan for more than one thousand years (from 794 to 1869).

It sits 315 miles southwest of Tokyo and 25 miles east of Osaka.

It was the setting of the world’s first novel in the world (Shikibu Murasaki’s The Tale of Genji).

It has over 1000 Buddhist temples (including the hugely impressive Fushimi-Inari-Taisha), and more than 2,000 temples and shrines collectively.

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha. Source: Medium

It has the oldest restaurant in Kyoto, Japan (called Honke Owariya, which was founded in 1465).

It had its own civil war – referred to as “Onin no Ran” (Onin War) – in the 15th century. The war lasted 11 years (1467-1477) and focused on two families of samurai warriors seeking power in Kyoto.

It is the home of the video game company Nintendo and Nightingale Floors:

It holds 20% of Japan’s National Treasures and 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites (including Kiyomizu-dera, Ryōan-ji, Saihō-ji, Tō-ji, and Kinkaku-ji.

It has 1.5 million residents (and 50 million tourists per year).

It consumes more bread and spends more money on coffee than any other city in Japan (I wonder why?).

It has the longest train platform in Japan (at JR Kyoto Station – 564 meters long!).

It is Kyoto.

Kinkaku-ji. Source: AWOL

And in June of this year, the World Parkinson’s congress will be held in this beautiful city.

What is the World Parkinson’s congress?

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Monthly Research Review – February 2019

 

At the end of each month the SoPD writes a post which provides an overview of some of the major pieces of Parkinson’s-related research that were made available during February 2019.

The post is divided into seven parts based on the type of research:

  • Basic biology
  • Disease mechanism
  • Clinical research
  • New clinical trials
  • Clinical trial news
  • Other news
  • Review articles/videos

 


So, what happened during February 2019?

In world news:

31st January – Not exactly February I know, but this is amazing: Forget everything you know about 3D printing, because now we can 3D print with light! (Click here for the research report and click here for the press release).

 

 

 

 

3rd February – Pope Francis visited Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. He is the first pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula.

19th February – Star Wars Lightsaber duelling was registered as an official sport in France, as part of an effort to encourage young people to engage more in sports (Click here to read more about this).

21st February – Israeli tech firm SpaceIL launched the Beresheet probe – the world’s first privately financed mission to the Moon. The company is competing in the Google Lunar X Prize, and it is hoping that the craft will land on the surface of the moon on the 12th April.

22nd February – “Wallace’s giant bee” (Megachile pluto) was the world’s largest species of bee – with a wingspan measuring more than six centimetres (2.5 inches) – until the species disappeared in 1981. An international team of scientists and conservationists have now re-discovered it in an Indonesian rainforest, giving hope that other lost species may also be found.

In the world of Parkinson’s research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

In February 2019, there were 696 research articles added to the Pubmed website with the tag word “Parkinson’s” attached (1555 for all of 2019 so far). In addition, there was a wave to news reports regarding various other bits of Parkinson’s research activity (clinical trials, etc).

The top 7 pieces of Parkinson’s news

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The road ahead: Parkinson’s research in 2019

 

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”

This quote has been attributed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Click here for the full story of this quote), and while the sentence does not immediately make a whole lot of sense, it does apply to our discussion here regarding research in Parkinson’s.

At the start of each year, it is a useful practise to layout what we are expecting and hoping to see in the world of Parkinson’s research over the next 12 months. This can help us better anticipate where ‘the battle’ may go, and allow us to prepare for things further ahead. Where it actually finishes is unpredictable, but where we currently stand will hopefully provide us with a useful measure.

In this post, I will lay out what we believe the next 12 months holds for us with regards to the Parkinson’s-related research.

And be warned: This is usually the longest post of the year.

 


Source: Protradeunited

In the introduction to last year’s outlook I wrote of the dangers of having expectations (Click here to read that post). A wise man (the great Charlie Munger) once said: If you want to lead a happy life, lower your expectations.

It is good advice, and as a rule, I try to follow it in life – I am a cup is completely empty kind of guy. I have no expectations, and so when anything happens – it is magic. I do have ambitions, but no expectations.

And others wrote about managing expectations in 2018 (Click here for a great example).

To put it plainly: Expectations are the primary cause of all disappointment.

Sage wisdom. Source: Unitystone

And it is important, as we look ahead at the next 12 months of Parkinson’s research, we need to be very careful not to have too many (or to build up too many) expectations.

 

Right, now, with all of that said, it may now befuddle some readers that the theme of the 2019 SoPD outlook is ‘great expectations‘.

Let me explain:

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The road ahead: Parkinson’s research in 2018

The great ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be” (the original quote actually came from his father, Walter). 

At the start of each year, it is a useful practise to layout what is planned for the next 12 months. This can help us better anticipate where ‘the puck’ will be, and allow us to prepare for things further ahead.

2017 was an incredible year for Parkinson’s research, and there is a lot already in place to suggest that 2018 is going to be just as good (if not better).

In this post, we will lay out what we can expect over the next 12 months with regards to the Parkinson’s-related clinical trials research of new therapies.


Charlie Munger (left) and Warren Buffett. Source: Youtube

Many readers will be familiar with the name Warren Buffett.

The charming, folksy “Oracle of Omaha” is one of the wealthiest men in the world. And he is well known for his witticisms about investing, business and life in general.

Warren Buffett. Source: Quickmeme

He regularly provides great one liners like:

“We look for three things [in good business leaders]: intelligence, energy, and integrity. If they don’t have the latter, then you should hope they don’t have the first two either. If someone doesn’t have integrity, then you want them to be dumb and lazy”

“Work for an organisation of people you admire, because it will turn you on. I always worry about people who say, ‘I’m going to do this for ten years; and if I really don’t like it very much, then I’ll do something else….’ That’s a little like saving up sex for your old age. Not a very good idea”

“Choosing your heroes is very important. Associate well, marry up and hope you find someone who doesn’t mind marrying down. It was a huge help to me”

Mr Buffett is wise and a very likeable chap.

Few people, however, are familiar with his business partner, Charlie Munger. And Charlie is my favourite of the pair.

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