Parkinson's disease affects 10 million people worldwide. It is a devastating neurodegenerative condition that leads to slowness of movement and rigidity and, in a large proportion of patients, depression and dementia. Currently, while there are strategies to alleviate early motor symptoms, there is no cure.
Parkinson's disease-related research in Ottawa is currently organized around the Parkinson Research Consortium (PRC), which has made great strides in basic and preclinical research since its inception in 2004. Consortium researchers come together from multiple Ottawa institutions to explore and understand the genetic factors and cell biological processes that contribute to Parkinson's disease.
The uOBMRI will undertake a number of initiatives related to Parkinson's disease, including:
Integrated Parkinson's Care Network (IPCN)
Developed by Dr. Tiago Mestre and Dr. David Grimes, the IPCN provides improved, integrated care for patients. People living with Parkinson’s identify their care goals with the help of an expert nurse, who provides self management tools and helps link individuals with resources in the community.
This initiative will coordinate and provide the best and most appropriate hospital and community resources for the personalized needs of each patient, while at the same time producing valuable clinical data. Personalize Parkinson’s Care by integrating healthcare options so that patients are connected to hospital and community services that treat all their motor and non-motor Parkinson’s symptoms. Healthcare plans are designed by a neurologist and overseen by a nurse coordinator who links patients to the appropriate services.
Understanding brain circuitry in Parkinson's disease
A major problem in understanding brain disorders has been insufficient insight into how the human brain functions at the network and circuitry level. The development of this new program will provide the perfect opportunity to address this issue in a meaningful way. Researchers will record brain neuron activity of patients to study how brain patterning is affected in disease states and how potential interventions may affect their outcomes. We will also determine how specific genes alter brain cell and circuit function.
Led Dr. Adam Sachs and Dr. Tiago Mestre, the Deep Brain Stimulation program brings together Neurology and Neurosurgery expertise at The Ottawa Hospital to provide life changing options to patients living with Parkinson’s disease.
Supporting the Next Generation of Researchers
Trainee support from the PRC is incredibly important for our new research group’s growth. Trainees not only benefit from interactions with members of the PRC to help them steer their project in the right direction, but also interact with Patient advocates which help focus them on the most important aspect of their research and keep them motivated.
Attracting World-class Experts
Recruited leading scientists working on PD including, Dr. Adam Sachs and Dr. Tiago Mestre, and most recently Dr. Maxime Rousseaux from the University of Baylor in Texas. Dr. Rousseaux’s research will help the medical community and patients with these debilitating diseases by defining the functional significance of genetic variants that are currently not well understood.