Diseases of the nervous system have a devastating impact on millions of people worldwide. The range of disorders affecting the brain and nervous system is vast and includes neurodegenerative disorders (such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS), cognitive mood and anxiety disorders (such as schizophrenia, dementia, depression, anxiety, and PTSD), neurodevelopmental disorders (such as autism), chronic conditions (such as epilepsy and pain), and disorders of and hearing, as well as brain injuries such as stroke, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury. The costs associated with brain disorders, both in terms of resources required for healthcare and the toll that they exact on patients and their families, are steep, and there is an urgent need for new therapeutic approaches.
The last decades have brought much progress in terms of the mechanistic underpinnings of neurological diseases at the molecular, cellular, and circuit levels, but translating these discoveries into therapies remains a critical challenge. This symposium will focus on the question of how we can move from an understanding of disease mechanisms towards translation into therapeutics. Using case studies drawn from different disease areas, we will highlight areas where progress has been made, consider the roadblocks and how we might overcome them, and, moving beyond the lab, we will address how policy and organizational issues impact these scientific efforts.
Focusing on the interface of basic disease research and clinical translation, this symposium will take a multi-disciplinary approach for translating the latest discoveries in the neuroscience field into new therapies and spark ideas for development and optimization of therapeutics. This meeting will provide ample time for discussion and a high level of interaction between speakers and attendees.