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Health Agencies Update
September 25, 2013

NIH Expands Effort to Develop Drugs for Neurological Conditions

JAMA. 2013;310(12):1217. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.278516

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expanding an initiative to fund the development of medicines to treat neurological diseases by supporting researchers who are investigating potential treatments for fragile X syndrome, nicotine addiction, and age-related macular degeneration.

The NIH launched the Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network in 2011 to help usher potential treatments for neurological disorders through the early stages of development (http://1.usa.gov/18IhO5U). According to the NIH, there are relatively few therapeutics available for neurological disorders, and pharmaceutical companies often shy away from developing new ones because of a lack of clinically validated targets, the many past failures in this area, and the relatively small populations affected by many nervous system disorders. So far, the project has funded 14 drug development projects.