Joint Conference Explores the Frontiers of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Research

Released: 30-Apr-2014 11:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Alzforum
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Newswise — Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease researchers presented their latest findings in the quest to understand and treat the two diseases at joint Keystone meetings held 2-7 March in Keystone, Colorado. The parallel meetings “Alzheimer's Disease—From Fundamental Insights to Light at the End of the Translational Tunnel” and “Parkinson's Disease: Genetics, Mechanisms, and Therapeutics” featured advances in both fields, as well as spirited discussion between academic and biotech scientists. Read highlights in Alzforum’s four-part series.

Heated debate at the conference flared around combination therapy to treat neurodegenerative disease. Researchers in academia said that treating patients with more than one drug will better the thus-far dismal chances of knocking the disease, while biotech scientists cited the risks and regulatory hurdles of such trials (see the story here).

Anticipation about the possibility of catching Parkinson’s disease at its earliest stages was palpable, as researchers presented plans for new cohorts of still-healthy people at high risk for developing the disease. As Alzforum reported, researchers hope that identifying new biomarkers, or warning signs, of Parkinson’s may enable them to head off symptoms before they start.

Researchers acknowledged that standard genome-wide association studies have run their course and appeared to uncover no further genetic links to AD or PD. Instead, they discussed new ways of moving forward by weaving in new kinds of data, including epigenetics, changes in gene expression, and how multiple genetic influences may conspire to cause disease (read the story here).


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