The Canadian Open Parkinson Network is launched!

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The Canadian Open Parkinson Network—National Research Platform Accelerates Parkinson’s Disease Discoveries

TORONTO, ON — (June 16, 2020)—Parkinson Canada invites people living with Parkinson’s disease to join the Canadian Open Parkinson Network (C-OPN) to be part of the solution to improve lives for those living with Parkinson’s and ultimately to help discover a cure.

Phase one of C-OPN brings together many of Canada’s best in Parkinson’s research with eight sites initially taking part in four provinces, giving investigators access to unprecedented data. The database and the biobank will support large scale, multidisciplinary projects that would not be possible at a single research site.

To ensure this initiative will have the greatest impact, the network needs people with Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson Plus (Atypical) Syndrome across Canada to register and participate in moving science forward at a more rapid pace. As a participant in the network, you will have the opportunity to:

1)    Participate in the creation of a national database collecting critical information from people with Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson Plus Syndrome for researchers across Canada.

2)    Participate in the creation of a national biobank for Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson Plus Syndrome for researchers.

3)    Learn more about research opportunities happening across Canada and contribute to findings and new outcomes that could change the future of Parkinson’s care and treatment or that can ultimately lead to a cure.

“It was pretty devastating to receive news that I have Parkinson’s disease. I thought it was kind of a death sentence. I found out it wasn’t. Now, I’ve come to realize that nobody can take away my Parkinson’s unless these wonderful researchers come up with a cure. Participating in medical research is worthwhile,” says Dulcie Webb, diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016, and participant in the Calgary Parkinson Research Initiative (CaPRI) site that is linked with C-OPN.

Currently, due to COVID-19, all research is being conducted remotely, and joining

C-OPN can be done from the comfort of your own home. If you are interested in participating, click the following link and fill out your information to be connected to a research coordinator at the site closest to you. If you are interested in learning more about the network, click the following link that will take you to the C-OPN website.

Dr. Oury Monchi, a professor and Clinical Research Director at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Canada Research Chair and Tourmaline Chair in Parkinson’s disease in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine is the Principal Investigator and Director of C-OPN.

“By building a strong, interconnected and collaborative network of researchers, physicians and people living with Parkinson’s, we can work strategically to accelerate advancements in Parkinson’s research and treatment,” states Dr. Monchi.

C-OPN was created through a $2-million Brain Canada Platform Support Grant. $1 million was provided by Brain Canada in partnership with Health Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund and this was matched by a $1-million investment of funds supplied by generous donors to Parkinson Canada, who led the project development.

“Brain Canada has long believed in the importance of open science and data sharing in strengthening Canadian brain research. We consider that research funders have a key role to play in supporting the development of open science policies and data sharing platforms. We are proud to be a partner of the C-OPN and remain unwavering in our commitment to ‘science without barriers and borders’ — science that is networked, coordinated, diverse, and inclusive,” says Line Trudeau, Chief Financial and Strategy Officer and Interim CEO, Brain Canada.

“A future without Parkinson’s requires transformative change and unwavering commitment,” said Karen Lee, PhD, President and CEO of Parkinson Canada. “By creating C-OPN with our partners, we are shaping the global state of Parkinson’s research. Once we understand bigger questions like causes of Parkinson’s, together, we can better serve the needs of the Parkinson’s community. A collaboration like

C-OPN allows us to reach more people affected by Parkinson’s and accelerate research discoveries that one day will unlock a cure. None of this would be possible without significant financial backing, and donors are stepping up to make it all happen.”

For more information on C-OPN, visit www.copn-rpco.com

For more information on Parkinson Canada, visit www.parkinson.ca

For more information on Brain Canada, visit www.braincanada.ca

About Parkinson Canada

Parkinson Canada is the definitive voice of Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease. From diagnosis to discovery, Parkinson Canada provides research funding, education and services to support people with Parkinson’s, their families, and healthcare teams; online, by telephone and in person. Since 1965, Parkinson Canada has advocated with federal, provincial and territorial governments on issues that matter to the Parkinson’s community in Canada, all of which is made possible thanks to generous donors.

The Parkinson Canada National Research Program funds research to improve our understanding of Parkinson’s disease, related disorders, the impact these disorders have on society, and one day, to find a cure. Since 1981, Parkinson Canada has invested over $30 million in funding supplied by generous donors to more than 580 research projects across Canada. Parkinson Canada is an Imagine Canada accredited organization since 2013. www.parkinson.ca

About Brain Canada and the Canada Brain Research Fund 

Brain Canada is a national registered charity that enables and supports excellent, innovative, and paradigm-changing brain research in Canada. For two decades, Brain Canada has made the case for the brain as a single, complex system with commonalities across the range of neurological disorders, mental illnesses and addictions, brain and spinal cord injuries. Looking at the brain as one system has underscored the need for increased collaboration across disciplines and institutions, and a smarter way to invest in brain research that is focused on outcomes that will benefit patients and families.

The Canada Brain Research Fund is a public-private partnership between the Government of Canada and Brain Canada, designed to encourage Canadians to increase their support of brain research, and maximize the impact and efficiency of those investments. Since 2011, Health Canada has provided $120 million to match donations from Brain Canada’s private and non-federal partners, and in 2019 a further $40M was committed over two years starting in 2020-21. www.braincanada.ca

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is a global intellectual hub located in Canada’s most enterprising city. In our spirited, high-quality learning environment, students thrive in programs made rich by research, hands-on experiences and entrepreneurial thinking.

For more information, visit ucalgary.ca. Stay up to date with University of Calgary news headlines on Twitter @UCalgary. For details on faculties and how to reach experts, go to our media centre at ucalgary.ca/mediacentre

About the Hotchkiss Brain Institute

The Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) at the University of Calgary consists of more than 250 scientists and clinician scientists who are dedicated to advancing brain and mental health research and education. The Institute’s research strengths, in Brain & Behaviour, Neural Injury & Repair and Healthy Brain Aging, are leading to a better understanding of the brain and nervous system and new treatments for neurological and mental health disorders, aimed at improving quality of life and patient care. More information about the HBI can be found at hbi.ucalgary.ca.

About the Cumming School of Medicine

The University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine is a leader in health research, with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research and education. On June 17, 2014, the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine was formally named the Cumming School of Medicine in recognition of Geoffrey Cumming’s generous gift to the university. For more information, visit https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/ or follow us on Twitter @UCalgaryMed.

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