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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

November, 2003

Each year I look forward to preparing this brief report of our clinical, research and educational activities because it gives me an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and goals of the Parkinson Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine during the past year and to express my gratitude to my patients, friends and colleagues for their continued support. Needless to say, I am very proud of the accomplishments we have achieved here at the PDCMDC and collectively at Baylor. In addition to ranking as #1 in biological sciences according to the National Science Foundation in research expenditures in basic and clinical science, BCM is listed in the top five medical schools in total National Institutes of Health Awards for 2002. Since taking the helm in March of this year, Baylor's new president and CEO, Peter Traber, M.D., has outlined his vision for the College, and the implementation of this strategic plan will make Baylor an even a greater institution. The College has recognized the contribution of PDCMDC in research and patient care by adding 400 square feet to our existing 3,000 square feet of research space.

Since my last year's report, we have been extraordinarily busy and productive. We are currently involved in testing 27 new drugs and conducting over 85 projects in Parkinson's disease (PD) and related neurodegenerative disorders, dystonia, Tourette syndrome, and a variety of other movement disorders. Selected by the NIH as one of its participating centers, we are now enrolling patients in a controlled study comparing creatine and minocycline as potential modifiers of PD. We have also enrolled more patients than other center in a multinational trial of Spheramine, cultured human retinal cells attached to gelatin microcarriers. When these microcarriers are implanted into the striatum, the part of the brain that is deficient in dopamine in patients with PD, they will deliver about million of cells that will continuously produce L-dopa. We are also initiating an NIH-sponsored study on multiple system atrophy, a neurodegenerative disorder manifested by parkinsonian features and autonomic dysfunction, such low blood pressure and bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction. In January of 2003, along with Dr. Weidong Le, the director of our basic science research laboratory, we published an article in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics on a discovery of a novel gene that may be responsible for a subgroup of familial cases of PD. One of the chief reasons for the extraordinary productivity of our Center is our database, which now contains data on 18,000 patients, the world's largest database of patients with PD and movement disorders. In addition, since 1977 we have accumulated 9,000 video segments of patients.

Our Center's various scientific discoveries and clinical observations have resulted in over 70 publications in journals, books, and other media (e.g. interview on CBS Morning News, newspapers, etc). Furthermore, our group presented over 20 abstracts, more than any other group in the world, during the 7th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, held last fall in Miami. The 4th edition of the Jankovic-Tolosa textbook on Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, published in October of 2002, is already going into 2nd printing. I am also proud to announce that the 3 volume, Neurology in Clinical Practice, which I have co-edited, has just been published and is also available on the web (www.nicp.com). This most comprehensive and prestigious textbook is considered by most as "the bible" in the field of Neurology.

This year I have been honored by invitations as a visiting professor and lecturer at the University of Syracuse, Albany Medical College, University of Massachusetts, Brown University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, New York University, Oregon Health Science University, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. I have been honored by the European Basal Ganglia Club as the keynote speaker at the European Federation of Neurological Societies Congress in Helsinki, Finland. In addition to serving on a number of editorial boards and scientific advisory boards, I have been asked to chair the Movement Disorder Society Journal Oversight Committee.

Other members of our team, including Drs. Ondo and Tintner, have also participated in various national and international symposia and have served as principal investigators in a number of studies conducted at the PDCMDC. Recognized for his contributions to the PDCMDC and to Baylor, Dr. Ondo was promoted during the past year to Associate Professor of Neurology. Dr. Thomas, who completed her neurology residency and two-year movement disorders fellowship at Baylor before joining our faculty, recently accepted a staff position at the Experimental Therapeutics Branch, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland. While we wish her all the best in her future endeavors, we acknowledge with sadness that we will miss her warm smile and know that the patients will miss her compassionate care. Although she is irreplaceable, we are actively recruiting for Dr. Thomas' faculty position. The coordinator for our National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence, Christine Hunter, R.N., CCRC, is currently serving on the Executive Committee for the Parkinson Study Group, an international consortium of academic researchers interested in finding the cure for PD.

Our Center has been involved in a large number of national and international educational programs in addition to our annual course on Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders held each summer in Aspen, Colorado. In January we again organized a highly successful and well attended a symposium on Tourette syndrome and related neurobehavioral disorders. This past June, the Huntington Disease Association of America hosted its annual national meeting here in Houston. I was proud to be one of the five co-organizers of the workshop on Psychogenic Movement Disorders, the first such multidisciplinary symposium with contributions from not only top neurologists, but also from highly regarded and world renowned psychiatrists, psychologists and neuroscientists. As a founder and co-chairman of the Neurotoxin Institute I have supervised the launch of our new website (www.neurotoxininstitute.com).

On March 6, we hosted the Parkinson's Research Endowment Fund gala dinner "Ensuring The Cure" honoring Mr. Aubrey Calvin and Mr. Andrew Delaney, with Michael J. Fox as our special guests. Mr. Fox was introduced by Mark Seliger, the internationally acclaimed photographer with award winning cover photographs for Rolling Stones, Vanity Fair and other magazines. The event raised over $350,000, and was used to boost the Parkinson's Research Endowment Fund (PREF) to nearly $1.5 million, one sixth of our $10 million goal. The most recent contribution to the PREF, a $50,000 check, was presented to me on October 22, 2003, at the 1st annual Sol J. and Miriam Rogers Memorial Golf Tourney, organized by Maury Meyers, a former three-term mayor of Beaumont, and his army of committed friends and supporters. Our next gala is scheduled for March 18, 2004 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Houston and will honor Mary Gracely, Ralph Davidson and Truett Latimer. We are most grateful to the honorees and to Lynda and David Underwood, who are serving as the Honorary Chairs.

As you can tell, I am very proud of our accomplishments. But I know that there is much work still to be done to bring us closer to the goal of finding the cause and cure of PD and other movement disorders. I am grateful to you for your generous support as we continue to make progress in our fight against these diseases.

Please let me know if you have any specific questions about our research goals and needs.

With warm appreciation,

Joseph Jankovic, M.D.

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