One in three people will develop a brain disease during their lifetime – and the proportion of people living with a brain disease increases dramatically with increasing life expectancy and age composition in the population. Correspondingly, the society impacts of these challenges are also increasing, both in terms of costs, as well as healthcare personnel resources.
Neuro-SysMed is the first research centre of excellence for clinical treatment in Norway. This is a new initiative from the Research Council of Norway, that is clinical medicine’s parallel to Norwegian Centres of Excellence that usually have more basic research approach. The centre aims to use a systems medicine approach on accumulating data from clinical trials to identify accurate markers for early diagnosis and sub-classification of diseases, predict prognosis and treatment response.
Neuro-SysMed will focus on four diseases; multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and dementia.
MS is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS), typically affecting young adults that usually can be treated by therapies by anti-inflammatory mechanism of action. Neuro-SysMed aims to further improve treatment strategies of existing therapies and develop new ones – especially for those with progressive disease courses with very limited available therapy options.
PD, ALS, and dementia are all classified as neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS, with a progressively disease course, that most often affect patients in higher age groups. These diseases are characterized by numerous subgroups, and hardly any therapy that substantially slows the progression of disability is available. Obvious goals for Neuro-SysMed are therefore identification of markers for precise sub-classification of diagnosis, as well as contributing to the development of novel therapies that can slow disease progression.
Neuro-SysMed has further an overall aim to facilitate the conduction of randomized clinical trials in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry, to provide Norwegian patients access to new therapies in an early stage of the development. We also aim to improve symptom management and rehabilitation, as well as the general care provided to patients and their families.
In this annual report, we present activities of the first months of Neuro-SysMed. Taking advantage of a close and active collaboration with our national and international research network, highly skilled advisory board members, and patient user organisations, we hope to fulfil our goals in the coming years and make a difference for people living with brain diseases.