“Preserving the Brain” is a forum on neurodegenerative diseases presented in September and October 2022, as the fourth phase of “Human Brains,” Fondazione Prada’s neuroscience project. Realized in collaboration with thirteen of the most prestigious international neuroscience institutes and universities, “Human Brains: Preserving the Brain – Forum on Neurodegenerative Diseases” comprises an exhibition (16 September – 10 October 2022) and a conference (6 and 7 October 2022) at Fondazione Prada’s Milan premises.
“Preserving the Brain” aims to stimulate an open and critical exchange between international scientists and experts on neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Multiple sclerosis, which are widely spread and as yet incurable. The forum participants include researchers, patient associations, and representatives of health care institutions and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. They will debate the current state of knowledge of these diseases and the tools currently used to fight them, while also seeking to identify lacunae in the search for possible therapies, and jointly defining priorities and strategies to sustain scientific research.
As stated by Miuccia Prada, President of Fondazione Prada, “For us, this phase of the project is particularly significant as it permits a closer understanding of scientific research’s impact on our everyday lives, and in particular on the discovery of possible cures and treatments. ‘Preserving the Brain’ also demonstrates how critical collaboration and sharing of knowledge are within the scientific community. This first international forum could become recurring and allow the organizations we are associated with to communicate with a wider audience, as they would like to, and Fondazione Prada to contribute tangibly to neuroscientific research.”
As underlined by Giancarlo Comi, President of the “Human Brains” scientific board, “The exhibition and conference that comprise the ‘Preserving the Brain’ project have been developed with the goal of finding a common strategy to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. New technological developments have markedly increased knowledge of the biology that underlies these diseases, and potential targets for new treatments are taking shape.”
The pivotal moment of “Preserving the Brain” is the scientific conference held on 6 and 7 October 2022, at Fondazione Prada’s Cinema in Milan. Giancarlo Comi has conceived this initiative in dialogue with the thirteen research institutes involved in the project.
Each day is divided into four thematic sessions, each one featuring three lectures and an open discussion between the scientists and researchers. The second day ends with a round table discussion in which scholars, technology experts, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and patient advocacy associations discuss future challenges in developing new therapies. The speakers explore the subject of neurodegenerative diseases from different perspectives, such as genetic implications and molecular mechanisms, clinical trials and possible drug treatments. The conference is addressed to researchers and universities involved in the project and representatives of prominent institutions in the health sector.
Read the program and watch the sessions in live streaming on the online platform dedicated to Human Brains.
The exhibition is displayed from 16 September to 10 October 2022 in the Podium, the space at the center of Fondazione Prada’s Milan venue. Conceived by the New York studio 2×4, the exhibition design is divided into different sections supervised by the research centers, and a common central area that encourages dialogue and exchanges between the thirteen institutes. Each section examines a specific research process on neurodegenerative diseases employing video presentations, technological objects and instruments, scientific documents, and visual materials. The exhibition aims to explore the complexity of scientific research by retracing the stages from identifying therapeutic targets to the different phases in the validation of new therapies to the availability of a drug for the patient. Special attention has been given to personalized medicine, a new approach that recognizes the uniqueness of the individual and treats the person suffering from a disease rather than a disease manifested in a person, thus optimizing the use of drugs and treatment monitoring.
During the three weeks of the exhibition, the participating institutes hosted a series of online workshops. Each meeting explores a specific aspect in the search for new cures for neurodegenerative diseases.
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTES INVOLVED
Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases, Boston, United States; Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Sorbonne University AP-HP, Neurology department and Paris Brain Institute, Paris, France; UniSR – Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy; Juntendo University Hospital, Neurology Department, Tokyo, Japan; Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) within the Helmholtz Association, Bonn, Germany; Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Munich, Germany; Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital, McGill University, Canada; Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Neurology Department, Tianjin, China; UCSF Weill Institute for Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, United States; University College London, United Kingdom; Weizmann Institute of Science, Revohot, Israel; Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, United States.