Did you know: As many as 10 million people around the world have Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder known for its hallmark symptoms—tremor, slowed movement, rigidity and stilted gait—is also marked by symptoms such as cognitive decline and loss of sense of smell.
Current treatment options are limited to those that manage Parkinson’s symptoms.
Scientists at Van Andel Institute (VAI) are working hard to change this reality.
Through cutting-edge research and international partnerships, VAI strives to translate scientific discoveries into new therapies that impede the progress of Parkinson’s, in hope of improving quality of life for the millions of people living with the disease. VAI focuses on three important areas of research:
Slowing or stopping progression.
Current therapies treat symptoms, rather than the root causes of the disease. Scientists at VAI endeavor to change that, searching for ways to slow or stop progression of Parkinson’s, allowing patients more years with fewer symptoms.
One avenue being explored, drug repurposing, involves evaluating medications developed and approved to treat other diseases as possible Parkinson’s treatments. This approach saves time and money while getting potential therapies into clinical trials faster.
Parkinson’s symptoms become progressively worse as the disease damages or kills crucial brain cells. VAI is investigating innovative approaches to reverse this damage and restore lost brain function.
Better diagnosis, better monitoring.
Scientists are working to develop new ways to diagnose Parkinson’s earlier and more definitively, which could one day allow doctors to start future therapies sooner and objectively monitor their effectiveness.
These efforts are paying dividends. Earlier this fall, VAI scientist Dr. Viviane Labrie and her colleagues published a groundbreaking study showing the appendix may be a starting point for Parkinson’s, identifying a possible new target for therapeutic intervention.
To support important efforts such as this, VAI hosts its annual Winterfest Celebration to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research. The event features an evening of culinary delights where guests can sample food from some of Grand Rapids’ finest restaurants. Wine and cocktails are served, and guests have a chance to bid on amazing silent and live auction packages—for an incredible cause.
The best part of Winterfest: 100 percent of event proceeds benefit VAI’s Parkinson’s disease research!
WHAT Winterfest Celebration
WHEN Thursday, February 21, 2019, 6 to 10 o’ clock p.m.
WHERE Van Andel Institute
WHY To benefit Parkinson’s disease research
Photo courtesy of Van Andel Institute.