The global ageing population has placed neurodegenerative diseases among the biggest public health challenges of 21st century healthcare. It is vital to understand this spectrum of diseases on both mechanistic and phenotypic levels to elucidate differences and similarities that can inform diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring, therapy development, and treatment & care decisions.
Our vision in the POND initiative at UCL is to provide new avenues for understanding the complexity of clinical phenotypes of multifactorial neurological diseases. Disentangling this complexity by identifying signatures of each disease is essential for meeting the challenge.
The platform upon which we will build the tools for achieving this vision is data-driven computational-and-statistical modelling, a set of powerful approaches with the ability to provide fine-grained and uniquely holistic pictures of neurological disease progression. Such emerging technologies will underpin support systems for clinical and drug-development applications, specifically by enabling precision medicine through differential diagnosis, patient staging, and personalised prognosis.
Our strategy for achieving impact within our vision requires a balance between model utility and complexity. Model utility is the end-game focus in order to impact disease management across the full spectrum from patients to medical health professionals and drug-development companies. Model complexity is unavoidable due to the nature of the disease signatures we seek, and requires methodological development, which is one of our group’s strengths.