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Loss of our friend, Dr. Kimberly Quaid de Cordon

We heard today that Kimberly Quaid de Cordon, PhD, died in a tragic accident, and we now are mourning the loss of our friend and long time HSG colleague. Kim was a professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics and a Faculty Investigator for the Center for Bioethics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and a genetic counsellor, and bioethicist who contributed influential works in areas of genetic testing, informed consent, research integrity, gender equity, and more. She was a highly sought after collaborator and committee member within the HD research community and more broadly with regard to her work in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Kim was the director of the HDSA Center of Excellence in Indianapolis, Co-Investigator of the HD Research Roster, and contributed extensively in her professional life. Kim lived life with energy, joy and humour, and a strong sense of justice. She leaves behind her beloved husband and two daughters. She will be sorely missed as a friend and colleague.

Sincerely,

Julie Stout, PhD, Treasurer, Huntington Study Group

Welcome new staff member, members of leadership team

The Huntington Study Group is pleased to announce a new staff member and new members of the leadership team. Anne Van Dusen, CHC, is HSG’s new Director of Education & Special Programs, Sarah Noonberg, MD, PhD, replaces Mike Poole, MD, on the executive committee, and Christopher Beck, PhD, replaces David Oakes, PhD, as HSG’s Director of Biostatistics/executive committee member.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Sarah, Chris, and Anne join our team,” said Ray Dorsey, MD, chair of HSG. “Sarah and Chris have a long-standing interest and record of service in HD. Anne brings much-needed expertise in training to help drive our educational efforts.”

Anne Van Dusen, CHC, Director of Education & Special Programs

Anne joined the HSG team in June of 2017 as the Director of Education & Special Programs. Anne is part of the Executive team and will develop and implement both educational and program plans that will sustain and help HSG to maintain its standing as a proven world leader in facilitating high quality clinical research trials and studies in Huntington Disease (HD). Anne holds a BS from the University of Binghamton School of Management and is certified in healthcare compliance by the Compliance Certification Board. Prior to joining HSG, Anne held several leadership roles in compliance, quality and finance, most recently at CCSI of Rochester, ACM Medical Laboratory and Lifetime Care Home Care and Hospice. Anne is passionate about trail running and is very active in the local running community. 

 

 

Christopher Beck, PhD, HSG Director of Biostatistics

Chris is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Orthopaedics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. As a member of several national and international collaborative groups conducting research in areas including Huntington disease, Parkinson disease, Batten disease, bone repair, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiomyopathy, Chris has extensive experience and a great deal of expertise in the biostatistical aspects of basic and clinical research. He joined HSG in 2005 while serving as a biostatistican for the TREND-HD study, and he has continued in that role for a total of eight HSG studies. Chris is honored to become only the second Director of Biostatistics in the history of HSG.

 

 

Sarah Noonberg, MD, PhD, Executive Committee Member

Sarah is currently the Chief Medical Officer at Prothena, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of novel immunotherapies for diseases involving protein misfolding. Prior to joining Prothena, she served as Group Vice President and Head of Global Clinical Development at BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc., where she was responsible for clinical development programs using gene therapies, oligonucleotides, and recombinant proteins to address a diverse range of neurodegenerative, neuromuscular, metabolic, and hematologic diseases. Earlier in her career she led clinical studies in Huntington disease in partnership with the Huntington Study Group, as well as clinical studies in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, prostate cancer, and cystic fibrosis. Sarah earned her MD at the University of California, San Francisco, her PhD in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and her BS at Dartmouth College. She is a board-certified internist and works part-time as a hospitalist physician treating a broad range of inpatient and critical care patients.

We need you!

HSG currently has two surveys in which your input is invaluable. We know there are a lot of surveys going around and you have limited time, so we tried hard to make these as brief as possible.

  1. HD Care Improvement Project: Funded by the Griffin Foundation, the project aims to improve care and access to care but needs your input to do so. If you are someone with HD, or a family member, friend or caregiver of a person living with HD, please take a moment to complete the brief survey below. We would like to understand YOUR experience – YOUR journey – and YOUR knowledge to help us improve access to quality care for HD patients and families in the United States. Your feedback is invited and welcomed! (The survey represents a collaboration among the Griffin Foundation, the Huntington Study Group (HSG) and the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) in partnership with a broad group of organizations.) Click here to take the brief survey.
  2. HD-Health Index: Funded by NJ Cure, this University of Rochester project aims to create a better quality of life outcome measure for research trials. If you have firsthand experience with the disease, either as someone with HD or as a caretaker, and are interested in helping research efforts, we want your opinion. The University of Rochester is administering a half-hour online survey that will ask you to rate the impact various common symptoms of the disease have on your life. $30 compensation for participation. For more information and to view the consent form, click here.

We know you’re bombarded with surveys, but we hope you’ll consider doing both of these.

Seeking Survey Participants

If you are someone with HD, or a family member, friend or caregiver of a person living with HD, please take a moment to complete this brief survey. The survey represents a collaboration between the Griffin Foundation, the Huntington Study Group (HSG) and the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) in partnership with a broad group of organizations. We would like to understand YOUR experience – YOUR journey – and YOUR knowledge to help us improve access to quality care for HD patients and families in the United States. Your feedback is invited and welcomed!

Click here to complete the survey.

World Experts in HD to Convene in Nashville

HSG 2016 with dateTraining opportunities, family education available at HSG 2016

The Huntington Study Group (HSG), an international, non-profit network of more than 400 researchers and clinicians dedicated to seeking treatments that make a difference for Huntington disease (HD), is hosting its annual forum, HSG 2016: Discovering Our Future, Nov. 2-5 in Nashville for training and education and for presentation of new research findings and treatments to the worldwide community. The event, which is expected to draw over 300 attendees, is being held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center.

Among the highlights of the event are:

  • UHDRS Symposium, which focuses on a proposed modified Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale and its use in clinical trials as an efficacy endpoint.
  • HD Innovators Forum, which includes presentations from leading HD industry partners working on developing new HD treatments.
  • CME4HD, a day-long, in-person continuing medical education course for healthcare providers hosted by HSG and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. The course will teach providers how to care for and manage individuals with HD. Participants will have the opportunity to earn 8.75 AMA PRA Category 1 CME CreditsTM.
  • Keynote speech by Dr. Bob Beall, former CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, who will talk about how CFF developed its care and research models in a non-profit setting through partnering with families, care providers, researchers, and biotech.
  • HD Research Symposium, highly acclaimed research presentations drawing worldwide recognition.
  • HD Family Education Day, designed for the local HD community and family members. The day starts with hearing about the latest in HD research, followed by interactive workshops and breakout sessions.

Registration costs vary on participation, but HD Family Education Day is free for HD community members. Please visit www.huntingtonstudygroup.org for more information and to register.

For more information:
Heather Hare
(585) 242-0277

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Registration for HSG 2016 is now open

HSG 2016 with dateRegistration for HSG 2016: Discovering Our Future is now open. The annual event will take place Nov. 3 to 5 with a special symposium about using a modified UHDRS for clinical trials on Nov. 2.

Please click here for information about registration, including the funded list. Registration is working a little bit differently this year, so it’s important to read the instructions carefully.

Click here for more information about the event, including agendas for the meeting, CME4HD, and the UHDRS Symposium.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at HSG 2016 in Nashville! It’s been a big year for HD research and we have a lot of catching up to do.

JAMA publishes results of First-HD trial

FirstHD_Horizontal sm screen resIn case you missed the news last month, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the results from First-HD, an HSG trial run by co-PIs Dr. Samuel Frank and Dr. Claudia Testa at 34 HSG sites around the country.

The JAMA abstract is available here (the paper is available with a subscription). HSG’s announcement is available here.

Frank spoke with several medical reporters about the findings, including at Medscape, which published this piece about the findings.

Thank you to Frank, Testa, Elise Kayson, Jody Goldstein and Jacqueline Whaley and the rest of team at CTCC, our site investigators and coordinators, and especially to the trial participants and their caregivers.

Vaccinex Receives FDA Fast Track Designation for VX15 Antibody for the Treatment of Huntington’s Disease

vaccinex_logoVaccinex, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation for VX15 as a potential treatment for Huntington’s disease (HD).  VX15 is the Company’s novel clinical stage monoclonal antibody that blocks the activity of semaphorin 4D (SEMA4D), a molecule that is believed to promote chronic inflammatory responses in the brain.

Read the company’s press release.

What is HSG?

For HD Awareness Month, the Huntington Study Group is launching an education campaign, aimed at helping health care providers who are less experienced with Huntington disease (HD) to learn more about how to care for their patients and families with HD. HSG wants to share insights of our experienced HSG members with less experienced providers to help them better understand issues faced by HD patients and families. So, HSG is launching a new education section of our website with tools to help new HD providers.

 

  • There, you will find:
    • Videos addressing common questions providers new to caring for families with HD may have
    • A page of useful resources for providers, including care guides, referral resources, and links to many advocacy organizations
    • Annual Event education: HSG 2015 educational and research presentations
    • The underlying message is that HD is a treatable disease
    • A video explaining what HSG is
Please share this new section of our website with the providers who call you for help and let us know if you have more ideas for resources we can add. If you are on social media, we encourage you to share all of this information with your networks to ensure the word gets out there. If you’re a hashtag user, we’ll be using both #hdisatreatabledisease and #letstalkabouthd (HDSA’s hashtag) throughout May, HD Awareness Month.

HSG adds board member Joni Steinman

Joni SteinmanAs our newest board member, Joni M. Steinman brings 35 years of health care management consulting experience to advancing the goals of the HSG. As the co-founder and managing principal of AUSMS Healthcare Consultants, Steinman served the U.S. health care industry, advising policy makers, administrators and practitioners on strategic, facility, organizational and business planning and development matters, including performance improvement initiatives for hospitals, surgery providers and practitioners, hospice and home care agencies, medical groups and governmental agencies, regarding the development of many facets of acute, sub-acute, ambulatory, home and long-term care.  In 2012, after completing several consulting engagements in Toronto, Canada, Steinman affiliated with Strategic Interests, LLC, a Rochester, NY-based firm dedicated to guiding health care organizations nationwide to grow through improved performance and the innovative use of information technology and business intelligence.

With educational achievements in both political and medical sociology (Brandeis University, cum laude) and social work administration (San Diego State University), Steinman has devoted her career, as AUSMS’ motto indicates, to guiding clients and colleagues alike ‘From Ideas to Results’ in health care and human services. And as the sister of a Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, Steinman grew up as a close and ever-fascinated observer to the critical impact that the pursuit of and commitment to scientific research can have on some of our most vexing medical challenges.

Steinman has always given back to her communities through voluntarism and philanthropy. Examples of her commitment including serving as President of, respectively, the Health Systems Agency of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the Jewish National Fund’s San Diego Region and San Diego Women in Health Administration.  Today, in addition to her new commitment to HSG, she is a member of the Rochester Women’s Giving Circle, a community of philanthropic women who combine their financial strength to support area women and girls on their journey to economic self-sufficiency.

 

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