RAPID-Dx Consensus Conference
Held in Washington, DC, the first meeting of the Research Alliance for PTSD/TBI Innovation and Discovery Diagnostics (RAPID-Dx) Consensus Conference Series brought together over 90 experts in the clinical, research, regulatory, statistical, and drug & device development arenas.
Hosted by Cohen Veterans Bioscience in partnership with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the first meeting examined how trauma’s related brain disorders are currently diagnosed, evaluated the current landscape of PTSD biomarkers, and identified gaps in the discovery and replication process.
Through interactive panel discussions and presentations from individuals from the FDA, NIH, DOD, VA, and academia, participants evaluated challenges in diagnosing and treating trauma-related conditions. For instance, less than half of patients respond to the current best-in-class PTSD interventions, and in order to develop more effective treatments and useful diagnostics, we need to understand the biological drivers of disease and identify robust biomarkers of disease subtypes. Further, while biomarkers are an essential component of drug discovery and development, the process of qualifying and validating a biomarker as a diagnostic through regulatory channels is complex and at times poorly understood.
The critical need to gain alignment around our research goals and forge collaborations between groups was an emergent theme. And, as stated by 1LT John E. Cebak of the Kentucky Army National Guard, during his opening talk on A Veteran’s Perspective of the PTSD Diagnostics Challenge, I invite you to ask yourself, do you have the fortitude to work at the pace that matches the rate of 20 suicides a day?”
Based on closing discussions, the goal of fast-tracking the development of diagnostic tests cannot be accomplished by siloed efforts. Rather, all stakeholders must be committed to driving progress forward, with a clear vision for the future and champions to rally others to this mission.
Indeed, this 2-day event was only the start of a conversation. Key stakeholders voiced strong commitment to creating a joint roadmap for redefining trauma-related disorders a critical first step towards improving diagnosis and treatment. A series of RAPID-Dx meetings are planned to convene leaders from government, academia, industry, and non-profit organizations to advance the PTSD and TBI research agenda.
Magali Haas, CEO and President of Cohen Veterans Bioscience, declared that Cohen Veterans Bioscience is officially committed and throwing its hat in the ring,” and asked for Champions to emerge across organizations who help drive momentum as we enter the second half of 2017.