Neurovations, a leading clinical research and consulting company in the fields of pain management and neuroscience, hosted the three-day long conference at San Francisco’s InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. It is the only meeting of its kind to bring together top clinicians, scientists and economic industry leaders from around the world to discuss the future of these promising treatments. The goal is to advance the field through cooperation across disciplines and shorten the cycle of innovation and improve efficiencies.
“The annual Targeted Drug Delivery Conference is a forum to help shorten the time between generating scientific ideas and the patient actually receiving therapy based on those ideas,” said Neurovations founder and president Eric Grigsby, MD, MBA. “The purpose is to break down the walls between scientific discovery, financial realities, regulatory hurdles, market competition and political hoops to foster collaboration that builds a swift path to market and ultimately patient treatment. That is what Neurovations is all about.”
The three-day forum featured discussions about the future of therapeutic agents delivered directly to the brain and spinal cord. The development of devices and techniques to deliver medication directly to the neurologic target represents a promising opportunity to treat difficult conditions including chronic pain, spasticity, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and neuro-oncology.
Targeted, direct drug therapy offers an alternative delivery of medication through an implanted device. It ensures direct delivery of medication where it’s needed most and also prevents opportunities for potential prescription drug abuse by the patient or family members/friends in close proximity.
“In the case of pain treatment, Intrathecal drug therapy is safer for the patient, and the community than high doses of oral pain medications like morphine,” Dr. Grigsby said.
Other conference highlights included:
- Krys Bankiewicz, MD, PhD of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco shared data discovered in direct drug delivery treatment for brain tumors during his presentation on new Gene Therapy and Other Neurodegenerative Disease Technologies. Dr. Bankiewicz is currently designing the hardware, surgical tools and methods required for this treatment.
- Eric Grigsby, MD, MBA (host) led an industry discussion, Surgical Techniques on Pump and Catheter Placement for intrathecal drug delivery including the current clinical applications of intrathecal infusion. Dr. Grigsby also discussed the economic and operational issues associated with IT infusion in pain management.
- Sten G.E. Lindahl, MD, PhD, FRCA, member of the Nobel assembly for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1996 - 2012), led a discussion on the global perspective on medical innovation for countries in extreme poverty, and the importance of collaboration to understand their particular medical needs.
- Russ Lonser, MD, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Ohio State University, presented his data on how to deliver drugs directly to the brain for patients with diseases such as Parkinson’s
- Lisa Shafer, PhD, director of Global Research in the Neuromodulation business of Medtronic, Inc., emphasized the importance of industry and physician collaboration to drive the continued development of innovative treatments, such as direct infusion of agents to the brain to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, in today's challenging environment.
“Creativity happens where different minds and different cultures meet to collaborate,” said Sten G.E. Lindahl, MD, PhD, FRCA, professor emeritus at the Karolinska Institute, department of Physiology and Pharmacology. “From a global perspective, it’s very important for medical, industry and technology professionals to come together to understand the needs of populations in the most dire situations in order for innovation to occur that will benefit the masses. The Targeted Drug Delivery Conference that Dr. Grigsby has created provides this unique opportunity.”
“Patients every day are suffering from conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Grigsby added. “A lot of years and a lot of dollars have been spent on dealing with these neurological cases, and not a single cure has been discovered. Our goal each year is to bring the world’s best clinicians, scientists and industry leaders together so that we can solve these problems.”
Dr. Grigsby and his staff will reveal additional findings in pain treatment at the upcoming Napa Pain Conference (August 23-25 in Napa). The conference will also celebrate its 20th anniversary.