The Virginia Commonwealth University Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center combines research, clinical evaluation and treatment; and education and outreach to provide a coordinated approach for developing strategies that combat movement disorders and neurodegenerative disorders.
The Center was conceptualized by the Movers and Shakers, a local advocacy group that raised the funds necessary to launch the Center. The highly integrated, multidisciplinary Center moves ground breaking research from novel approaches in the laboratory to clinical trials, translating discoveries into real-world treatments.
The Translational Laboratory-based Research Program focuses on acquiring molecular knowledge about the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease, as well as testing promising new disease-altering therapies in cell and animal models. This program includes a Brain Tissue Resource Facility that assists families and patients with neurodegenerative disease as they explore the possibility of an autopsy and human brain tissue donation for research.
The Clinical-Translational Research Program bridges the development of promising therapies emerging from the laboratory and from other investigators with experimental therapies. This program also serves to protect intellectual properties, supervise preclinical investigations, file Food and Drug Administration Investigational New Drug applications and initiate Phase I and II studies.
The Clinical Multidisciplinary Diagnostic and Therapeutic Program provides multidisciplinary clinical diagnosis and care for Parkinson’s and related movement disorder patients. Recent evidence suggesting that Parkinson’s is a brain wide disease with multiple potentially disabling conditions beyond the movement disorder requires coordinated clinical care by physicians from several disciplines. This program offers the Parkinson’s community a unique clinical resource where each patient is evaluated by movement disorder neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuroscientists and physical therapists in a multidisciplinary manner at each visit. Access to neurosurgical therapies also is available.
The Education and Outreach Program integrates research, clinical trials and patient care with the educational needs of the scientific, clinical, lay advocacy and governmental communities. In order to alter the trajectory of Parkinson's and related diseases, it is imperative for all community members to partner in education to better understand the disease progression, symptoms, treatments and current research. Each community member brings valuable perspective and knowledge to the Center.