Roadmap

Over the next 2-3 years Cohen Veterans Bioscience will pursue several large-scale programs, specifically in the area of PTS and TBI. This approach will allow us to rapidly and empirically test the utility of new collaboration models, policies, technologies, tools, for developing potential diagnostics and treatments that will directly benefit both the healthcare and patient communities.

Improved diagnostics for PTS and TBI will produce enormous benefits:

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For the patient:

  • Reduced anxiety for patients and families
  • Better ability to diagnose and treat brain disease
  • More effective / safer treatments available
  • Reduced symptoms and better outcomes

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For the treatment team:

  • Empower physicians to treat patients
  • Broader / earlier diagnosis
  • Reduced risk of relapse and hospitalization
  • Improved compliance with treatment as a whole

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For the healthcare system and society:

  • Reduced cost of care of patient
  • Reduced cost for system / commercial payer

 

 

These domains will be explored within the following Disease-focused Programs:

  1. Post-traumatic Stress
  2. Traumatic Brain Injury
  3. Suicidality

Our programs & projects will be managed tightly, with predetermined milestones and deliverables and with a core mission to create data and tools that are useful to as many researchers as possible.

The following Science & Technology Domains have been identified as part of our Initial Roadmap: 

  • Large Scale Biomarker Research
  • Biosensors
  • Patient Networks & Mobile Health Assessment Platforms
  • Information Technology & Knowledge Management
  • Data Standards & Tools
  • Computational Disease Modeling & Analytics
  • Preclinical Models
  • Brain & Tissue Repositories

Treatments Will Evolve as Our Understanding of Patient’s Disease is Enhanced by the Evolving Science

Paradigm Shift. We can make faster progress in understanding brain function and dysfunction across diseases by adopting a systems approach that redefines disease by mechanism across the human lifecycle.

The very bases by which we currently classify the heterogeneous array of conditions we call brain disorders, has been called into question.1 Importantly, the current nosological categories fail to align with findings emerging from clinical neuroscience and genetics.2 Additional many of our tools for assessment and diagnosis (e.g. scales & questionnaires) are relatively crude.3

As we transition from a descriptive to a mechanistic approach that reveals principles of cells, cellular networks, organs, and emergent behavior and their interactions across several spatial and temporal scales, we will need to embrace mathematical and computational approaches to help us integrate, interrogate and visualize data to enable knowledge discovery.

In the Systems Biology approach being championed by Cohen Veterans Bioscience, bioinformatics and computational biology are used to provide a research platform to acquire, manage, analyze, and display large amounts of data, allowing the research community to focus hypothesis-driven approaches only on the most promising avenues.

The essential and unique role that Cohen Veterans Bioscience can play to enable the Shift in Paradigm, articulated above, is to define a Roadmap for PTS and TBI, act as a Central Coordinating organization, connecting disparate organizations and efforts, serving as an integrator, and empirically testing and widely disseminating new models for biomarker testing and pre-clinical animal modeling as well as exploring the opportunities that new and emerging technologies provide.

Cohen Veterans Bioscience Programs are organized around the central goal of accelerating the time to cure for Veteran’s brain diseases and improving mental health.

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GENERAL PROGRAM GOALS:
  1. Quantification. Scale up multi-modal data collection through prospective observational clinical, biomarker & biosensors study of individuals with brain disease phenotypes and capture real-time, real-world health outcomes using patient powered networks.
  2. Computation. Build new models at different scales using expanded array of analytics approaches, engage additional computational partners & expand community.
  3. Validation. Test and validate our models against clinical and basic science constructs.
  4. Knowledge Engineering. Expand toolbox of data management, simulation, and other knowledge engineering tools.
  5. Education & Dissemination. Disseminate models & insights through multiple channels and partners.

References

  1. Regier DA. Time for a fresh start? Rethinking psychosis in DSM-V. Schizophr Bull 2007;33:843-845.
  2. Insel TR. Foreword. A revolution in cognitive neuroscience. Dev Cogn Neurosci 2011;1:1-2.
  3. Nutt D, Goodwin G. ECNP Summit on the future of CNS drug research in Europe 2011. Eur Neuropharmacol 21;495-499.
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