The mission of the MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders is to transform our understanding of brain development into clinical advances that improve the lives of affected individuals and their families.
Brain disorders, and in particular those with a developmental origin, are one of the greatest burdens of disease in the world. However, patients are not receiving appropriate help. There are currently no effective pharmacological treatments for profound autism. Current treatments for schizophrenia only ameliorate psychotic symptoms in some patients and generally fail to improve cognition and other behavioural problems. And although some forms of epilepsy have adequate treatments, at least one-third of patients do not respond to any of the existing medicines. The development of effective treatments for these conditions is therefore a pressing need.
The main limitation for the design of new interventions for neurodevelopmental disorders is our insufficient understanding of the changes that occur in the brain of affected individuals. However, new discoveries are beginning to shed light on the genetic changes that underlie the development of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental disorders. For the first time in decades we have an opportunity to transform this understanding into new treatments and clinical interventions.
The challenge remains to explain how gene changes and environmental factors disrupt brain development and cause neurological and psychiatric alterations. This is the mission of our Centre, with the ultimate goal of translating this knowledge into clinical advances that improve the lives of affected individuals.