The Movement Disorder Society’s (MDS) International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders is perhaps the largest gathering worldwide of experts in Parkinson’s disease. This year, two members of The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s research team will be in attendance at the congress in Dublin, Ireland, from June 17-21: Mark Frasier, PhD, vice president, research programs, and Maurizio Facheris, MD, MSc, associate director, research programs. Reporting on it for MJFF will be Nate Herpich, associate director, research marketing and communications.
The primary goals of these type of events, Mark explains, is to present research results and to learn about new treatments and therapeutic approaches. As many members of MDS are clinicians, attendees can also earn continuing education credits.
Mark has attended MDS once before—in Kyoto in 2006. As a movement disorders specialist, Maurizio has been a regular participant ever since his board certification in neurology in 2005.
For the first time, Mark will be presenting on behalf of the Foundation. He will share outcomes with researchers and clinicians from MJFF’s landmark biomarkers clinical study, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). Four other presenters are leveraging data from PPMI for their research. Mark is also presenting to the patient community about how they can be a part of research through clinical trial participation and Fox Trial Finder, the Foundation’s web-based clinical trial-matching tool, which recently expanded to the UK, Ireland and Canada.
While Maurizio is not presenting, he’ll be attending as many sessions as he can to report back to the Foundation’s research team on the latest news. Both will be meeting with many of MJFF’s research awardees, as well as with current and potential industry partners and patients. They are looking forward to having so many people in the same place at the same time. In particular, Mark is enthusiastic about a PPMI breakfast, which will bring together the study’s primary investigators in attendance. He says, “We’ll be able to solve problems as a collective all at once, instead of tackling them separately.”
Maurizio is excited for the various poster sessions, in which researchers and clinicians present their findings among smaller audiences. He says, “I love getting to talk with the presenters, which you can’t do in the larger plenary sessions. I previously led a poster session, and received great advice and insight from the other participants. It’s a very collaborative and interactive environment—everyone is eager to help you make connections to speed progress.”
Mark also appreciates the global reach of MDS, which attracts people from beyond the U.S. and Europe to Asia and Australia. He says, “Whether it’s through PPMI data or Fox Trial Finder, we’ve created tools to help people take action to speed progress toward a cure. I’m looking forward to getting the word out about these tools and the Foundation—to researchers and clinicians—and to patients.”
Follow Nate’s reporting from MDS on the blog. And check back after the congress for a follow-up post with Mark and Maurizio.