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McDonnell includes $250K in state budget for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center at VCU

bob-mcdonnell-linksGov. Bob McDonnell’s biennial budget amendments, to be officially released on Monday in his annual speech to the Joint Money Committees, will include $250,000 in state support for the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

VCU has the only comprehensive center for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders in Virginia, other than one at McGuire’s VA Hospital which is available only to veterans. It is estimated that 300,000 Virginians currently suffer from movement disorders, most coupled with dementia, or are at risk for developing one of them.

“We all know someone, or some family, that has been impacted by Parkinson’s or other movement disorders,” McDonnell said. “These maladies are heartbreaking, and they are a source of daily struggle and challenge for so many of our fellow Virginians. They are also expensive. It is estimated that these afflictions cost the Commonwealth $1 billion a year already, and that number will only increase as we move forward. That is why the work being done at the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center at VCU is so important. The Center is on the front lines of finding means by which to combat and arrest these disorders. Through those efforts, the center is improving the lives of Virginians every day, and the potential is there to do far more in the years ahead.”

“Each and every day, people all across Virginia are impacted by the challenges and difficulties related to Parkinson’s and other movement disorders,” said Speaker William J. Howell. “The personal stories of how these disorders impact people are truly heartbreaking. The work beginning at the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center at VCU will improve the lives of those impacted by these disorders. I applaud Governor McDonnell for including this funding in his budget amendments and hope we can continue these efforts in the future.”

“On behalf of all the members of the VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center, I thank Governor McDonnell for including our Center in his proposed budget,” said Dr. James Bennett, Founding Director of the VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center.  “We strive to improve the lives of all Virginians who suffer from these conditions that are so devastating to the individual patients and their families. Our programs of translational and clinical research, multidisciplinary clinical care, training and outreach education will all benefit from this generous support.”

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 facility 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 groundbreaking research from novel approaches in the laboratory to clinical trials, translating discoveries into real-world treatments.

The center supports four programs, which the additional $250,000 in state funding proposed in the budget will help:

ü  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.

ü  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.

ü  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 that 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.

ü  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.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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