It has become increasingly acknowledged that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of disability. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies have drastically cut funding for neuroscience research that could provide new drug treatment for TBI. Why? Neuroscience research is difficult to complete. Understanding about neurological disorders, especially TBI, is limited and many clinical trials fail to show a significant effect. Neuroscience research is also prone to considerable variance between patients, as well as a high attrition (drop-out) rate. Neuroscience research for new drugs is simply not profitable.
And yet, the unmet needs of the significant number of people with a TBI must be addressed somehow. In lieu of pharmaceutical research funding, bits and pieces of existing knowledge can be shared between researchers so that gaps in knowledge can be identified. As biochemical research in TBI contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms behind TBI, this knowledge can help to design more efficient clinical studies.
As the understanding of neurological diseases such as TBI continues to grow, so will its potential for a profitable market.
Agoston DV & Risling M. Where will the (new) drugs for traumatic brain injury treatment be coming from? Frontiers in Neurology. (March 2012).