PREVIEW: Fifth World Parkinson Congress

Conference details: 4-7 June 2019, Kyoto, Japan.
Report by: Roger Barker – WPC 2019 Programme Chair
Published online: 25/2/18

The Fifth World Parkinson Congress, also known as the WPC 2019, will once more unite the global Parkinson’s community in June 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. The four-day long programme will offer a unique experience for researchers, clinicians, rehabilitation professionals, people with Parkinson’s, care partners, and others. Unlike any other meeting it brings patients and the clinical and scientific community together. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Dr Jon Stoessl and Dr Marie-Francoise Chesselet, more than 100 Congress committee members from 25 countries are helping the WPC 2019 take shape.

The WPC 2019 follows the success of the first four WPCs, the last of which took place in 2016 in Portland, Oregon. Based on the success of that meeting, along with the feedback we are receiving, we expect up to 4,000 delegates from over 50 countries to participate in this highly informative and wide ranging meeting.

The conference embraces a range of presentations from plenary talks to roundtable discussions and everything in between – parallel sessions and interactive workshops. Indeed, some of the most popular parts of each WPC are the workshops and Roundtable discussions where topics get discussed from a range of different perspectives given the varied backgrounds of the audience.


The programme has been carefully put together over the past year by a committee representing academia, clinicians, researchers, and those who experience the reality of living with this condition. The aim has been to profile and highlight the latest and most germane issues in Parkinson’s today. Topics on gene and cellular therapy will run alongside sessions on neuroprotection, clinical trials, rehab therapies, and best care delivery models as well as sessions devoted to ‘fake news’. The provisional programme can be viewed and downloaded on the WPC website at Speakers will be confirmed by July 2018.

The World Parkinson Coalition® has lead the neurological world in innovative meetings by bringing the full range of people touched by Parkinson’s together under one roof. This has been done not through scheduling separate tracks of talks, but by bringing together everyone to maximise the understanding of the disease and the impact it has on those who live with it. This allows researchers to actually meet patients and see the condition they are trying to treat and cure, while allowing patients and their carers to interact with those trying to help them. This provides a unique opportunity for a global exchange of ideas between all the stakeholders and is one of the reasons why the WPC was awarded the globally prestigious Incredible Impacts Award in 2017 by the International Congress and Conventions Association.

As the programme chair, I feel that we have created a one of a kind programme that will offer not only excellent talks, and thought-provoking ideas, but in a setting that really encourages innovation and opportunity to explore new ideas.


The WPC 2019 works closely with the Parkinson’s community, starting with more than 100 Organisational Partners from 30 countries, 16 WPC 2019 Ambassadors who all live with Parkinson’s disease, and 16 Blogger partners who blog about their WPC experience and why the community needs to attend this unique Congress.

Organisational partners represent professional and patient organisations and within the UK alone, WPC OPs include such groups as: Parkinson’s UK, European Parkinson’s Disease Association, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, and the British Association of Neuroscience Nurses.

Two WPC 2019 Ambassadors are based in the UK, David Sangster and Emma Lawton. David and Emma are both leading patient advocates who are available to meet with community members to speak about their experiences and to help people think through their plans for attending the WPC 2019.

I can also attest to the fact that this meeting is the most inspirational and accessible of all major PD meetings that I attend. Unlike any other meeting, it has a palpable buzz of excitement and discovery and leaves you with a sense of privilege and admiration for those who work and live with this condition.


The exhibit hall will offer a chance to meet representatives of companies and patient voluntary organisations from around the world. The poster display will highlight the science and treatment of Parkinson’s with an array of basic and clinical science topics covered. The posters will also include a section from those who experience life with Parkinson’s to illustrate the ways they have improved their lives. These “Living with Parkinson’s” posters will be a way of making some truly inspiring initiatives more conspicuous so that they can be used by others.

Patient Engagement

The WPC has also led in terms of patient engagement and involvement. People with Parkinson’s are incredibly important resources for those of us working in the Parkinson’s space. The WPC recognised this early on and it’s what makes the WPC experience so memorable for the delegates. People with Parkinson’s are not only helping others live with the condition, they are contributing to the research agenda by helping set priorities for our scientific research. After they help us set the research agenda, many go on to help advance the science by signing up for clinical trials, something I am eternally grateful for as a researcher.

A selected number of outstanding poster presenters will be invited to speak about their work as Hot Topics presenters each morning to a large audience. One of these lucky presenters will be awarded the Stanley Fahn Young Investigator Award. This opportunity will open the door for upcoming researchers to take centre stage in front of some of the most influential neuroscientists and renowned Parkinson’s authorities on the planet. Submission deadline for abstracts is Friday 23 November 2018.

Wellness Way

The WPC Wellness Way area includes four rooms: Renewal Room, Care Partner Lounge, Massage Room, Quiet Room. Each of these areas gives the participants a chance to try something new and the Congress is designed to demonstrate activities that can be done to help alleviate the challenges of living with Parkinson’s and will include short programmes on yoga, dance, laughter therapy, voice and singing therapy and more. The WPC is a high-level meeting with a programme that can exhaust even the most experienced conference attendee. We aim to keep everyone healthy and fit while they are learning about Parkinson’s!

The aim of WPC 2019 is to bring the world of Parkinson’s together in one place to hear about some of the most interesting things happening in Parkinson’s science and care today. What better way to kick-start dialogue, innovation, and partnership than to do it together? And what more attractive city than Kyoto?!

The WPC occurs just once every three years. Add this Congress to your 2019 calendar, and learn about some of the most exciting things happening in the Parkinson’s world today. I hope to see you Kyoto from June 4 – 7, 2019.