Need for NeuroBasic

Brain/CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders are amongst the most prevalent and debilitating diseases and responsible for about 35% of the European health budget. They are widely recognized as one of most costly public health problems in Western societies.

In the Netherlands roughly 750 000 people suffer from depression at least once during their lifetime, accounting for annual costs of €125 million for pharmacotherapy alone.

Many major brain disorders are chronic and the effectiveness of current therapies is often poor. For example, only 50% of patients treated with various antidepressants show adequate response. Therefore, new therapies could lead to large quality of life improvements for individual patients and significant public health benefits.

The CNS research line in this cluster will contribute to increasing the effective use of currently prescribed drugs, the identification of novel lead compounds and novel tools to help fight CNS disease and to design new intervention strategies.

For this purpose, understanding the phenotypegenotype relations and identifying new genes that contribute to behavioural abnormalities could contribute to prevention of disease progression and relapse and improve therapeutic responsiveness.

Figure 3.1: Findings in mouse models can be rapidly translated into cognitive clinical trials. This Figure shows a good example of how mechanistic findings in a mouse model of Neurofibromatosis (NF1) quickly lead to the development of therapeutic strategies. Proof of principle was shown in a mouse model only three years after identification of the affected mechanism, and a clinical trial involving 60 patients was concluded only three years later. Applicants Y. Elgersma, S. Kushner and C.I. De Zeeuw were involved in this research.