Leaders, investigators, and advisors from the Cerebral Palsy Research Network (CPRN) are attending the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on Basic and Translational Research for CP this week on March 24, 2016. CPRN founder Paul Gross, a former National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Advisory Council member, helped organize the agenda for the meeting. Gross, along with numerous advocates in the CP community, have encouraged NINDS leadership to create a strategic plan for preventing, treating and curing cerebral palsy. The first step toward a plan began with the NIH Workshop on the State-of-Science and Treatment in Cerebral Palsy in November 2014. Of five key objectives identified by participants in that meeting, more focus on basic and translational research was an important area for NINDS to consider and this week’s meeting agenda will focus on basic and translational research goals.
The agenda and format will allow the attendees – clinicians, researchers and patient advocates — to discuss the latest scientific advances in promising areas with the potential to alter the course of CP including neuroprotection, neuroplasticity, imaging, stem cells and animal models. Several CPRN investigators and contributors including Dr. Yvonne Wu from UCSF and Dr. Shenandoah “Dody” Robinson from Boston Children’s are speakers in the workshop. The synthesis of this meeting should help NIH further hone a strategic plan for cerebral palsy. The meeting is being streamed live by NIH and can be viewed here.
CPRN views participation in this type of national government planning meeting as critical to its mission of improving outcomes for people with cerebral palsy. Many findings will eventually need a clinical trials infrastructure to bring the benefits to patients. The CPRN Registry will help inform researchers of the most important areas to focus on and determine how quickly a study could be conducted across our network. It will also enable following long term outcomes for people that receive a range of treatments.