Views
11 months ago

2013 Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Institute
  • Detroit
  • Treatments
  • Eboni
  • October
  • Michigan
  • Researchers
  • Rapids
  • Pancreatic

Research News ® The

Research News ® The Role of Inflammation | VAn AnDEL InSTITUTE Grand Challenges In Parkinson’s Symposium 2013 On September 18-19, 2013, Van Andel Institute hosted more than 200 researchers, caregivers and patients for a symposium focused on inflammation in Parkinson’s disease. The symposium, organized and championed by Van Andel Institute’s Dr. Patrik Brundin, brought together researchers from across the globe to discuss specific topics regarding Parkinson’s disease research, diagnostics and therapeutics. The research presentations covered a variety of topics, including a keynote presentation on deep brain stimulation (DBS) by French neurosurgeon, Dr. Alim Louis Benabid. Dr. Benabid was presented with the Jay Van Andel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parkinson’s disease for his groundbreaking work in the development of DBS as a neurosurgical practice. His presentation covered the role of DBS as it pertains to Parkinson’s disease treatment. The surgical technique utilizes electrodes to stimulate, at subtle frequencies, specific regions of the brain. This stimulation has the potential to change the way electricity travels through the brain, and in some patients, this ‘re-wiring’ can alleviate some of the debilitating symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease. This technique has helped more than 140,000 patients to date and continues to be an innovative mode of treatment for those living with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Benabid, the innovator behind DBS, addressed how this technique might continue to play a role in treating the effects of Parkinson’s disease. “Dr. Benabid has made an incredible contribution to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease by developing deep brain stimulation. Today over 140,000 patients have undergone DBS treatment, which essentially changes the ‘electric connections’ in the brain, and they are able to move remarkably better thanks to Dr. Benabid’s invention,” said Dr. Patrik Brundin, Van Andel Institute. The event also included discussion sessions for caregivers and those living with Parkinson’s disease. These information/discussion sessions gave those in attendance the opportunity to ask experts questions regarding disease treatment options and how research might have an impact on the therapeutics of the future. This year’s symposium saw an increase in attendance and support from sponsors. Next year’s Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease symposium is scheduled for September 24 – 25, 2014. For information on Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s disease or to view a photo gallery from the event, please visit grandchallengesinpd.org. Thank You to Our Sponsors! 8

Recent Scientific Discoveries Discovery May Lead to Improved Cancer Treatments A recent study offers the promise of a new treatment that can slow the growth of cancer cells. The study identifies two molecules that slowed tumor growth in test subjects while protecting normal tissue. The innovative report, “Small molecule intramimics of formin auto-inhibition: a new strategy to target the cycloskeletal remodeling machinery in cancer cells,” was carried out in conjunction with researchers from Grand Valley State University and Michigan High Throughput Screening Center and was published in the journal, Cancer Research. The cytoskeleton is a valid target for anticancer drugs; successfully hitting that target might keep cancerous cells from growing, dividing and thus enlarging the tumor. This study describes a new class of molecules called intramimics that affect the actin filaments and microtubules that are part of the cytoskeleton and are essential for a cell’s movement, division and internal organization. Progress in Breast Cancer Van Andel Institute recently published the results of a study identifying a novel mechanism of therapeutic resistance in HER2+ breast cancer. The findings of the study could lead to new therapeutic options for patients with HER2+ breast cancer. Researchers are also working on understanding the genes that are driving triple-negative breast cancer and identifying new therapeutic targets. These studies will not only identify how triple-negative breast cancer becomes resistant to existing treatments, but also will reveal new treatment options for patients. The Laboratory of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease Headed by Dr. Jeremy Van Raamsdonk, the Laboratory of Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease (LAND) studies aging and its role in the development of diseases that affect the brain, such as Huntington and Parkinson’s disease. The importance of this work is clear as there are currently 810 million people across the globe over the age of 60, and this number is estimated to grow to 2 billion by the year 2050. Aging is the greatest risk factor in the development of many neurodegenerative diseases. The more people that reach advanced age, the more people will develop these devastating disorders. Dr. Van Raamsdonk uses a simple genetic model organism, the worm C. elegans, to gain insight into the aging process. He believes that this knowledge will be useful in promoting healthy aging and also in delaying or preventing the development of disease. Currently, the laboratory is unraveling the mechanisms underlying a novel longevity-promoting pathway. Other ongoing studies involve generating new models of Parkinson’s disease that can be used to examine the effect of delaying aging on disease severity. These studies are part of Van Andel Institute’s ongoing commitment to researching neurodegenerative disease and addressing the pressing health concerns facing current and future generations. Join VAI and The Grand Rapids Griffins 3.7.14 for a Purple Community game to benefit disease research and science education. For more info on upcoming Purple Community events visit www.vai.org 9

Publications by Year