2012 FPN International Research Symposium

March 14 – 16, JW Marriott, Chicago

Innovative Therapies for Peripheral Neuropathies: The Present & The Future


UPDATE: The summary of the 2012 Symposium was published in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System. Read the full article: Challenges in Developing Novel Therapies for Peripheral Neuropathies: a Summary of the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy Scientific Symposium 2012


On March 14th, The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy launched our inaugural research symposium: Innovative Therapies for Peripheral Neuropathies: The Present & The Future. Initiated in August, 2010, careful planning culminated in a symposium that brought together clinicians, basic scientists, young investigators, and pharmaceutical companies. With nearly 100 participants from across the US and seven foreign countries, the symposium was a huge success!

The symposium began with a welcome reception on Wednesday night with some special guests joining the symposium participants. Everyone enjoyed a Chicago-themed menu and the presentation of our new patient video.  From the welcome by Pam Shlemon, Executive Director, to the personal story presented by Jack Miller, Chairman, it was a wonderful beginning for the symposium.

One purpose of the symposium, which will become a bi-annual event, was to provide a forum for open discussion to bring the challenges of peripheral neuropathy research to the forefront and allow participants to redirect future research efforts. Our hope is that this collaboration will lead to research in the next 5-10 years that will have a significant impact on patients.

Thursday kicked off three educational sessions that lasted through noon on Friday. Sessions were focused on three main areas: i) mechanisms of axonal degeneration and regeneration; ii) strengths and weaknesses of current animal models; and iii)clinical trial challenges in peripheral neuropathies. Each session included an initial presentation by one of the leaders in the field followed by expert panelists who each brought two questions into discussion of what they consider are major obstacles to moving the field forward. After each group of topical presentations there was much discussion – and debate – amongst the panelists and the audience.

On Thursday evening, representatives of the U.S. Federal Food & Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute delivered keynote addresses. The Foundation will continue to spearhead collaborative meetings that will continue the dialogue that was started at the symposium to determine the most effective ways to advance research.

One important aspect of advancing research is to invest in the talents of junior investigators who have the ability to make a significant impact in this relatively small field. With three summary papers to be published in medical journals, we are excited for what the future brings for the Foundation – and for the future of research toward new therapies for peripheral neuropathy.

There is still much to accomplish.