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Neurology - Parkinson's

Houston, Texas

The Cullen Building at Baylor College of Medicine.
Department of Neurology
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Annual Report

October, 2008

Each year I try to provide a snapshot of the various activities at the Parkinson Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine. According to the 2008 U.S. News World Report, BCM remains among the top 10 medical schools in the nation in overall ratings (7th among primary care-focused medical schools), above such prestigious schools as University of Chicago, Cornell University, and Mayo Medical School. I am pleased to highlight some of the accomplishments we have achieved at the PDCMDC during the past year and progress we have made since my last report.

  • It has been almost a year since we marked the 30th anniversary of the PDCMDC with an evening of celebration on Nov. 8, 2007 at the InterContinental Hotel, Houston. This event brought together former and current fellows and other trainees, professional colleagues, representatives of national and local patient support and research organizations, and other friends and supporters of the PDCMDC. Among the dignitaries attending the anniversary celebration were: Lewis P. Rowland, M.D., past president of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association, and past editor of the journal Neurology; Stanley Fahn, M.D., past president of the American Academy of Neurology and of the Movement Disorder Society and past editor of the journal Movement Disorders; and Mark Hallett, M.D., past president of the Movement Disorder Society. The evening was filled with many surprises, including recognition awards presented to Dr. Jankovic, the founder and director of the PDCMDC, from the national Tourette Syndrome Association and from TSA of Texas in honor of the 30th anniversary of the PDCMDC at BCM. Dr. Jankovic was also presented with the First National Parkinson Foundation Distinguished Service Award, 2007. The biggest surprise was the announcement of an endowment, approved by the BCM Board of Trustees, of Dr. Jankovic as the "Distinguished Chair in Movement Disorders".
  • On Dec. 6, 2007, Dr. Jankovic testified before an advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration and presented data on tetrabenazine accumulated by him and his team at Baylor since he was awarded an Investigational Exemption for a New Drug in 1979. This, coupled with data from a multicenter controlled trial which Dr. Jankovic helped to design and in which PDCMDC participated, paved the way to the approval of tetrabenazine (Xenazine®) by the FDA on Aug. 15, 2008 as the first drug for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington disease. Tetrabenazine is one of several drugs (others include BOTOX and a variety of anti-parkinsonian drugs) that have been approved by the FDA in part as a result of studies conducted by Dr. Jankovic and his team at BCM.

During the past year Dr. Jankovic received several honors, including:

  • On Sept. 23, 2008, during the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association, Dr. Jankovic was awarded Honorary Membership in the ANA, "the highest honor that the ANA can bestow, and is reserved for those few individuals who have made unique contributions to neurology and neurological science."
  • Dr. Jankovic was invited to present a special lecture on "Levodopa", selected as the "magic bullet" in the field of Neurology, on Oct. 4, 2008 at the World Conference on Magic Bullets, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize Award to Paul Ehrlich, Nurnberg, Germany. In his 1908 Nobel Lecture Dr. Ehrlich provided the foundation for antibiotics and chemotherapy. He coined the term "Magic Bullet" and this term has remained in use to signify particularly efficacious drugs designed to target and cure specific diseases.
  • On Oct. 16, 2008, Dr. Jankovic was presented with The Guthrie Family Humanitarian Award during the 12th Annual Guthrie Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. This once-in-a-lifetime award is presented annually by the Huntington's Disease Society of America, to "a leader in the Huntington disease medical and scientific community that goes above and beyond the call of duty in an effort to bring the very best in research, care, and patient services".
  • Over the past year, Dr. Jankovic published over 50 articles and chapters, and three textbooks, translated into many foreign languages.
  • Dr. Jankovic chaired meetings and presented lectures at:
    • The 17th WFN World Congress on Parkinson's Disease and Related Disorders, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, December 2007.
    • Key note lecture at the 10th annual meeting "Les Amis Du Clostridium", Versailles, France, January 2008
    • Multidisciplinary Advances in Tourette's Syndrome and Implications for Clinical Practice, Bari, Italy, April 2008.
    • Director and lecturer in courses at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, Chicago, 2008.
    • The PDCMDC team presented over 20 abstracts at the at the12th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, Chicago, Illinois, June 2008, more than any other center in the world!
    • Dr. Jankovic has been invited to give other special lectures, such as the Steve Fink Memorial Lecture, Boston University and as a Visiting Professor at Yale University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
    • Dr. Jankovic was invited to serve on the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation DMRF Medical and Scientific Advisory Council and as a member of the Organizing Committee for the 18th World Federation of Neurology World Congress on Parkinson's Disease and Other Movement Disorders, Miami, 2009
  • William Ondo, M.D., associate professor of Neurology and associate director of PDCMDC published a book on restless legs syndrome, which has become one of the best book sellers. He lectured at the American Academy of Neurology, World Congress of Movement Disorders, the American Professional Sleep Society meeting, and numerous medical schools. He has also published more than 20 original scientific papers over the past academic year.
  • Christine Hunter, R.N., the PDCMDC research manager, was also recognized during the PDCMDC 30th anniversary celebration by the TSA Chapter of Texas for her volunteer professional contributions, including the annual TSA camp. She was also invited to participate in the Parkinson's Disease Foundation Clinical Research Learning Institute initiative designed to address barriers to the acceleration of PD therapies.

I hope that this partial list of our accomplishments over the past year highlights the progress being made in our search for better understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative and movement disorders. Your investment in research at the PDCMDC will hasten the day when Parkinson disease and other movement disorders will be effectively ameliorated or even cured.

With warm appreciation,

Joseph Jankovic, M.D.

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