Research in Context: Back to Basics

It’s useful to remember that all research is ultimately aimed at developing therapies that can help people with Parkinson’s, Dr. Steven Lee said during his remarks on research Saturday at DHMC.¬†
Lee’s remarks, at a Parkinson’s disease symposium attended by more than 200, provided valuable context for understanding the flurry of research news¬†
Treatments developed through research can be symptomatic (easing the symptoms, without addressing the underlying degeneration); neuroprotective (designed to slow the progression, and thus prolong life); or restorative (reversing the progression and restoring functionaility).
Research itself takes place along a continuum, or “road map,” that ranges from basic discovery, to refining and validating the targets that are uncovered, to pre-clinical testing, “phased” trials in people, and, ultimately, FDA approval applications.
Parkinson’s research can also be categorized as being oriented toward genetics, or divided in two other ways broad categories (or a combination of the two): genetics and cell biology, and environmental influences.
Your correspondent is still working through the research discussed at the event. But one other observation, from a colleague of Lee’s: To be a study participant: do not have to be a patient, and if you are a patient and accepted into study, you can still be a patient.