By Tom Eckhardt

It is a new year and a lot of exciting things are happening in Parkinson's research and treatment. Here are a few examples:

The FDA just approved Rytary, a slow-release levodopa medication that reduces 'off' time and dyskinesia.    

The personal DNA company 23andMe and Genentech have entered into an agreement for Genentech to completely sequence the genome of 3000 people with Parkinson's with a goal to identify new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease.  Currently they have only analysed about 750,000 genetic data points in any given individuals genome (I was genotyped, not fully sequenced). This new, whole genome sequencing, will allow them to review 3 billion genetic data points within the genome of each participant.  

NeuroDerm Ltd's new way to deliver levodopa through a belt worn pump is showing promise as it maintains a consistent dose of levodopa reducing motor complications.  

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation has paired with Nature Publishing Group to publish npj Parkinson’s Disease, a new open access, online-only, research journal is dedicated to highlighting the most important scientific advances in Parkinson’s disease research.  

The Davis Phinney Foundation has released an Ebook version of Every Victory Counts, a manual that gives people living with Parkinson’s – and their caregivers and family members – the tools they need to take control of their own Parkinson’s treatment through a proactive approach to self-care.  The book is available free of charge in Ebook or print form here on the Foundation website.  

And a recent white paper issued by One Research found that patient empowerment is crucial to clinical trial recruitment. The report - which draws on insights from a wide range of stakeholders including the clinical research sector, pharma, CROs, and patient advocacy groups - says the industry must improve its communication to patients, not only to raise awareness of the available opportunities to get involved in clinical research, but also to reassure them of the vital importance of their role. Also, the approach must be truly patient-centric, “ensuring that the priority of research professionals is to work in the interests of the patients”. Sound familiar? You can read more and download a copy of the study here.

I could go on, but these examples give me hope that 2015 will be the year of the cure! If you haven't signed up for Fox Trial Finder, you can do so here.  Please join me and 40,000+ other PwPs supporting the search for a cure. By the way, if you haven't signed up for this year's Mary-Thon exercise program, you still have time to get in corral one which started this week. Read all about it and sign up here.

Happy New Year!

This is an extract from Tom Eckhardt's informative and interesting blog It is what it is. Read more here