Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease Scientific Symposium

Leading Parkinson’s experts and advocates from around the world have gathered at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) in Grand Rapids this week for Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease, a scientific event highlighting the latest breakthroughs in Parkinson’s research and treatment.

The theme for 2017 was The Role of Energy Metabolism, which focuses on cellular metabolism, specifically mitochondrial function and the regulation of autophagy, glucose metabolism, calcium homeostasis and oxidative stress. The 2017 symposium also highlighted clinical observations, as well as clinical trials involving repurposed drugs.

Shake It Up CEO and Founder Clyde Campbell was invited to attend both the patient advocate and scientific symposium and is excited about the prospect of bringing Linked Clinical Trials to Australia.  These trials will look at existing drugs already approved for use in humans which could also have the potential to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Grand Rapid Challenges in Parkinson's Scientific Event


Bringing together scientists, physicians and people with Parkinson’s creates a unique and impactful forum for propelling research aimed at improving patients’ quality of life. As our population ages, the number of people with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases is expected to increase. Symposia such as this are essential to fostering a collaborative approach to finding new and better treatments.

~ said Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., director of VARI’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science and chair of the symposium’s planning committee.

In parallel with the Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s Disease conference, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT) has again joined forces with VARI to host the annual patient-focused meeting Rallying to the Challenge 2017. This event aims to amplify the voices of people with Parkinson’s and influence research, particularly in the areas of clinical trials and novel therapeutic development.



The Australian Parkinson’s Linked Clinical Trials Program is an initiative of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (UK), the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Shake It Up Australia Foundation.

Shake It Up, together with our partners at the Michael J. Fox Foundation have already been funding a repurposing study at the University of Queensland that is focused on an existing blood pressure drug that could reduce inflammation in people with Parkinson’s and potentially slow the progression of the disease.

Dependent on funding the Australian trials will choose drugs already approved for use in humans. These drugs will be included in the repurposing study which will significantly reduce the length of pre-clinical time required which means a faster outcome for patients.

Find out more on the Linked Clinical Trials program and how you can get involved.