Message from the editor

Welcome to the latest edition of E Parkinson Post!

With Parkinson Society Canada poised to look back on almost 45 years of history (2010 will mark our 45th anniversary), we have decided in this issue to highlight some of the things that make Parkinson Society Canada uniquely yours.

We focus on how people with Parkinson’s, their families, volunteers, researchers and clinicians have come together to create a supportive community across the country and how Parkinson Society Canada has become the national organization Canadians with Parkinson’s look to for support, education, research and advocacy.

You will hear from a person with Parkinson’s and two caregivers who can attest to the value of the help and support they receive from Parkinson Society Canada and its regional partners.

We provide a look at our national research program and bring you up to date on the achievements of some of our previously and currently-funded researchers.

There is also an overview of our advocacy efforts on your behalf and links to Parkinson Society Canada’s latest Position Statements which are posted on the website.

Comments, questions and story ideas are always welcome. You can send them to editor@parkinson.ca

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Marjie Zacks
Editor

Parkinson Society Canada – Your Society

Canada’s leading organization for people with Parkinson’s

Whether you live with Parkinson’s, are a family member, friend, donor or volunteer, you have helped make Parkinson Society Canada our country’s only national full service Parkinson organization.

During the past 44 years, people like you, coast to coast, have established 12 regional partner Societies, 235 Support Groups and Chapters who want to make a better life for people living with Parkinson’s through support services, education, advocacy and research.

With the support and funding of many like you, Parkinson Society Canada and its 12 regional partners, are able to provide educational workshops, conferences, a 1-800 national information and referral centre, bilingual print materials and supportive counselling. Our Advocacy initiatives are helping to change policy at all levels of government and are helping identify new voices to speak out on behalf of people living with Parkinson’s.

Our proud tradition of funding Canadian-based research has made us the largest private sector funder of Parkinson’s research in the country and last year, the national research program invested $1.12 million in funding innovative pilot projects, clinical fellowships and studentships for talented young researchers to ensure that Canada continues to engage top scientists in the study of Parkinson’s.

Our initiatives complement the work by other Parkinson organizations such as the Parkinson Research Consortium in Ottawa, Pacific Parkinson’s Research Institute in BC, The Brain Repair Centre in Halifax and the American-based Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Monies raised by PS in Canada remain in Canada and that proud tradition of support, advocacy, education and research in Canada continues as we head toward our 45th anniversary in 2010.

This year’s SuperWalk raised a record $2.46 million so thank you to all those who came out and walked, ran and jogged and to those who supported them. You can feel proud of the role you have played personally in creating a better life and brighter future for Canadians living with Parkinson’s today – a world without Parkinson’s tomorrow. Check out the new SuperWalk brand for 2010 at www.superwalk.com

Our Mission and Vision

Mission

Parkinson Society Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson’s. Our purpose is to ease the burden and find a cure through advocacy, education, research and support services.

Vision

A better life with a brighter future for Canadians living with Parkinson’s today. A world without Parkinson’s tomorrow.

Values

People with Parkinson’s first

  • Those we serve are our first priority in all decisions.

Collaboration

  • Work together to achieve our Mission and encourage all voices to be heard.

Compassion

  • Conduct all business in a manner that demonstrates empathy and respect for those living with Parkinson’s.

Creativity

  • Always seek innovative ways to reach our mission.

Transparency

  • Conduct business in a manner that meets the most rigorous scrutiny and practices accountability.

Empowerment

  • We enable Canadians living with Parkinson’s to take action so that they may live fully in their communities as vibrant participants in all that life has to offer.

PSC develops position papers

One of the strategic outcomes for Parkinson Society Canada is to be recognized as a credible and reputable voice for Canadians living with Parkinson’s.  Working collaboratively with our regional partners, we identified four priority topics requiring position statements, which were approved by PSC Board in June 2009.

Read more

Your research dollars at work

National Research Program

Parkinson Society Canada’s National Research Program is a collaboration with our 12 regional Parkinson’s organizations. The success of this national research program depends on the contributions we receive from donors, charitable foundations and other granting agencies. PSC does not receive any government funding.

Our focus

  • 75% of funding is dedicated to biomedical research which focuses on finding a cure.
  • 25% of funding is directed to clinical, health services and systems and population studies.
  • PSC’s psychosocial research stream complements the biomedical research and helps increase our understanding of the quality of life issues that people with Parkinson’s and caregivers face.

Promising areas of research

  • causes of PD
  • complications of PD
  • biomarkers
  • neuroprotection
  • dopamine development
  • psychosocial research
  • cognition and dementia

Selecting projects

All research applications to the National Research Program undergo a rigorous peer review process overseen by the top Canadian scientists in Parkinson’s research who sit on PSC’s Scientific Advisory Board. Only applications with the highest ratings for scientific excellence and relevance to Parkinson’s are chosen for funding. Research grants, fellowships and studentships are awarded through an annual competition.

  • Grants fund expenses associated with conducting a project.
  • Fellowships support the salaries of researchers who have completed doctoral training, such as MD or Ph.D., and who are pursuing specialized training in Parkinson’s.
  • Studentships support salaries of graduate students at the master’s or doctoral level, to attract promising young scientists to the Parkinson’s field at the start of their research careers.

For more information about PSC’s National Research Program and currently-funded research, see:

Award winners for 2009-2011 cycle

National Research Program Biomedical Awards

National Research Program Psychosocial Awards

PSC-funded researchers: Where are they now?

PSC is proud of the many researcher success stories that have resulted from our funding program. In the coming months, we will be taking a look back at those we have funded and will update you on their progress. Here is a small sample of PSC funding success stories.

Dr. Oleh HornykiewiczDr. Oleh Hornykiewicz
Professor Emeritus, University of Vienna (1995)
Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto (1992)

Recipient of an operating grant from PSC in 1982, Dr. Oleh Hornykiewicz is one of the world’s leading neuroscientists and was an early winner of PSC’s prestigious Donald Calne Lectureship. He is best known for his discovery of the dopamine deficit in the brain of people with Parkinson’s disease and the initiation of L-dopa as a treatment for Parkinson’s.

Dr. David ParkDr. David Park
Assistant Dean, Research and Special Projects, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa

Professor, Department of Cellular Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa and Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Since receiving a pilot project grant in 2003, Dr. David Park has emerged as one of Canada’s most prolific scientists in Parkinson’s. Over the years, he has leveraged $270,000 in grants into $1.67 million in major funding. His current research includes an examination of the role of Pink1, a gene linked to Parkinson’s, in brain cell survival and brain cell death.

Dr. Frédéric CalonDr. Frédéric Calon
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, Université Laval

Dr. Frédéric Calon received a new investigator award from PSC in 2004, and again in 2006, as an independent researcher. He is renowned for his groundbreaking research in new therapies for Parkinson’s. Dr. Calon and his co-investigator, Dr Francesca Cicchetti, also of Université Laval, demonstrated recently, in animal models, that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids protects the brain against Parkinson’s disease progression.

Dr. Ekaterina RogaevaDr. Ekaterina Rogaeva
Associate Professor, Neurology Division, University of Toronto and Researcher, Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto

In 2005, Dr. Ekaterina Rogaeva received a new investigator award from PSC to do a comprehensive genetic analysis of LRRK2, a novel causative gene for Parkinson’s disease. She is an Associate Professor and independent investigator at the University of Toronto, with a focus on the analysis of genes involved in movement disorders.

Dr. Karim MukhidaDr. Karim Mukhida
Neurosurgeon-in-training, University of Toronto

PSC awarded Dr. Karim Mukhida a basic research fellowship in neurotransplantation, in 2006, to work with world-renowned neurosurgeon and brain repair researcher, Dr. Ivar Mendez at Dalhousie University. Dr. Mukhida has found a potential new way to treat neuropathic pain. In 2010, he will begin a clinical fellowship in the Division of Neurosurgery at Toronto Western Hospital and the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Dr. Andres Lozano.

Dr. Pierre BlanchetDr. Pierre Blanchet
Faculty of Dental Medicine, Université de Montréal
Chair, Parkinson Society Canada Research Policy Committee

Funded as a Clinical Fellow in 1993, Dr. Blanchet worked with the internationally-recognized PD pharmacologist Thomas Chase at NIH, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Blanchet established, for the first time, the precise role of the drug amantadine, used for over 40 years to relieve early symptoms of PD.  This older, inexpensive compound now has a completely new role in the treatment of PD. Dr. Blanchet is now Chair of the Research Policy Committee at Parkinson Society Canada.

 

We are proud of the contribution Parkinson Society Canada continues to make to the advancement of the understanding of Parkinson’s. Our support of Canadian researchers in their early years has led to a solid foundation of promising Parkinson’s research in Canada.