ZERO: The number of diagnostic tests and treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder approved by the FDA in the past 17 years.
Our military warfighters and veterans and all people with PTSD deserve better.
People with PTSD can experience very different physical and emotional symptoms. Certain types of psychotherapies are recommended by the Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense PTSD Treatment Guidelines, but they are often not preferred by or accessible to the majority of those suffering with PTSD. There are only two FDA-approved medications for the treatment of PTSD. Likewise, these medications do not work well for a lot of people, particularly when the presentation of PTSD is complex as is often the case in active-duty and veteran military service members.
There are few potential new treatments currently in development and several of those already tried in patients with PTSD have failed. The VA’s 2017 Consensus Statement of the PTSD Psychopharmacology Working Group and other sources confirm that there is a deficient pipeline of new PTSD medications. The clinical, social, and financial burden of ineffectively treated PTSD is enormous.
We need to find better ways to select and test new treatments.
The challenge is that not all forms of PTSD are the same – we need biomarkers to subtype individuals (as we currently do in different forms of heart disease and cancer) – to individualize therapy.
To select better candidate therapies to test – we need better targets based on an understanding of biological pathways and circuits – so we can develop precision therapeutics.
With this combination, clinicians would be able to recommend a specific treatment for a person with a specific subtype of PTSD, a practice known as personalized or precision medicine.
Build a new precision medicine pipeline by:
- Establishing a national network of centers that incorporate innovative and streamlined design approaches to test multiple therapeutics in parallel under highly rigorous and standardized methods.
- Identifying a pipeline of candidate therapeutics to test based on available evidence.
- Accelerating the validation of biomarkers for subtypes of PTSD.
- Creating a learning system where data from these studies is used to foster a better understanding of biological mechanisms that cause PTSD to find the next generation of targets and biomarkers.
- Advancing successful treatments and biomarkers to the next stage of development and ultimately to the clinic.