Background—The Need for Translational Neurotechnology
Over 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from a brain or nervous system illness. In addition to untold human suffering, the annual economic burden has reached over $1 trillion dollars worldwide with $300 billion a year in the U.S alone. This burden is accelerating as the population ages and population increases. These factors are creating unprecedented demand for treatments that delay, prevent and cure chronic neurological and psychiatric diseases.
Neurotechnology is not only an application of the neurosciences, it is mainly a rapidly growing new industry which includes companies research, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices, as well as diagnostic and surgical equipment for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric illnesses including: Alzheimer's, addiction, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, hearing loss, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, pain, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, stroke and more. Together these diseases represent more than 30% of the total burden of disease in established market economies.
Converging technological breakthroughs across a wide variety of specialties including biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology are now making it possible to develop radically new treatments for unmet medical needs. Despite the clear human need and significant global market opportunity, Neurotechnology research and companies face a host of issues that stifle innovation, growth and the rapid delivery of more effective therapies. The most important one, as identified by WHO, is the lack of appropriate translational research .