Norway’s first research center for clinical trials

National center for brain diseases awarded to Haukeland University Hospital and the University of Bergen, by The Research Council of Norway (RCN). The center will perform groundbreaking research aiming to improve treatment for serious diseases on the central nervous system, such as MS, ALS, Parkinson and dementia. 

A multidisciplinary team of leading clinicians and scientists will establish a national Center of Excellence for clinical research in brain diseases. The goal is to provide better access to the newest and best treatment within brain diseases, and to make experimental treatments available for patients all over Norway. This is a major milestone for Norwegian healthcare. 

The research center, called Neuro-SysMed, will receive 20 million NOK per year from the the Research Council of Norway (RCN) for up to eight years. This will be matched by the hosting institutions reaching a total of  320 million NOK (33 million Euro).

Will improve patient diagnosis and treatment

The center will be led by Prof. Kjell-Morten Myhr, expert in MS and neuroinflammation and Prof. Charalampos Tzoulis who is an expert in brain-aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia and ALS. 

Neuro-SysMed comprises a highly multidisciplinary team of neurologists, molecular neuroscientists, computational scientists, epidemiologists and business developers. They will interact and collaborate following a highly integrative model with the single aim to understand and treat neurological disease. 

– This is a recognition of the work we have been doing over many years, says Myhr to Bergen’s Tidende. 

Read article from Bergens Tidende here. 

A main focus will be on patient and public involvement (PPI). This will enable patients to communicate with the researchers and clinicians at the center, and influence the research directions of the center.  

– We are proud and thrilled to have been entrusted with this tremendously important mission, says Prof. Charalampos Tzoulis.  

A better life and new hope

– We have great expectations that the first center in the new scheme will lift Norwegian clinical neurological research to a new level, says Managing Director in The Research Council of Norway, John-Arne Røttingen. 

– This center will contribute to a better life and new hope for many patients with serious diseases, says the minister of Health Bent Høie to the Research Council of Norway

Read article from the Research Council of Norway here.  

The center will also assist researchers and pharmaceutical industry with organizing and administrating new studies. 

– Brain diseases truly are the last frontier of medicine and biology. In spite of centuries of research, their secrets remain hidden and their causes obscure. Brain diseases remain, therefore, largely incurable. Since the number of affected people are steadily increasing in our constantly-aging population, brain diseases are now the major challenge to health care and society. The mission of Neuro-SysMed is to discover novel ways to decipher the mystery shrouding brain disease and to use this knowledge in order to improve patient diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, Neuro-SysMed aims to enable patients with brain disorders from the entire country to enroll in trials of experimental therapy, says Tzoulis

– BTO has been with us from the very start of the application process and made key contributions to both conceptualization and strategic planning of the Center, as well as the recruitment of powerful partners from the industry. BTO will be an integral part of our Center. We have excellent synergy and look forward to take on the Center’s challenges as a team, continues Tzoulis. 

The focus on patient and public involvement (PPI) was highlighted also by the seminar, recently arranged by BTO  «User involvement in research and innovation»You can read the article from the seminar here. This seminar was an important part of gathering experts from different fields, like Simon Denegri,  National Director for Patients, Carers and the Public, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) UK, and to exchange knowledge.  

BTO is proud to have contributed in the application process that brought Norway’s first clinical research center to Bergen.  

– This is an important milestone, and the allocation of the project fits well with other focus areas, amongst them user involvement in clinical research. We look forward to further collaboration with the University in Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital and hope to contribute to realize the exciting and comprehensive potential for this center, says Business Developer at BTO, Kine Gregersen.

Partners

Major Center nodes include the Departments of Clinical Medicine, Clinical Dentistry, Global Health and Biomedicine at the Medical Faculty, University of Bergen, the Computational Biology Unit (CBU) at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (UiB), Bergen Technology Transfer Office (BTO), Haraldsplass Hospital and Haukeland University Hospital.  

Moreover, the center has excellent collaborations with world-leaders in the field from all over the globe including Europe, Canada, Japan and the United States.