Neurodegeneration: Opportunities for Collaboration Across Disease-Specific Research and Development Communities: A Workshop

When: April 30, 2012 - May 1, 2012 (8:00 AM Eastern)
Where: Pew DC Conference Center (The Americas) • 901 E Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20004

Topics Biomedical and Health Research, Substance Use and Mental Health, Diseases, Aging, Public Health, Quality and Patient Safety
Activity: Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders
Board: Board on Health Sciences Policy

Neurodegenerative diseases are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the United States due to the aging population. Implications of these diseases are grave, both for individual and family quality of life and for healthcare costs. Recent findings have revealed potential commonalities and parallelisms in genetic and cellular mechanisms across neurodegenerative diseases. Enhanced sharing of research findings and collaboration across research communities could potentially help advance basic scientific knowledge about each disease and about neurodegeneration and neurodegenerative diseases in general. Furthermore, enhanced basic scientific understanding could facilitate therapeutics development for neurodegenerative disorders, including therapeutics that may address more than one neurodegenerative disease. This workshop will explore commonalities across neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal dementia, and identify potential opportunities for collaboration across the respective research and development communities. Speakers and participants were invited from academia; pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries; government agencies such as NIH, NSF, and VA; and disease advocacy groups.

Workshop Objectives: The objectives of this workshop were to look across the neurodegenerative diseases—including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal dementia—and: 

  • Identify and discuss commonalities related to genetic and cellular mechanisms.
  • Identify areas of fundamental science needed to facilitate therapeutics development.
  • Explore areas of potential collaboration among the respective research communities and sponsors.

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