Brain Canada is pleased to announce the awarding of a 2021 Platform Support Grant (PSG) to Dr. Benicio N. Frey from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton & McMaster University

Together with the Ontario Brain Institute, Janssen R & D and CAN-BIND Solutions Inc., Brain Canada is awarding $2,4 M to support Enabling Neuroscience research Approaches for Brain, feeLings and Emotions (ENABLE), an innovative platform for clinical trials in mood disorders. 

Brain Canada’s Platform Support Grants are awarded to teams that are creating and/or enhancing centralized shared resources to increase access to equipment, expertise, data and protocols across research networks.

Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder affect over 350 million people around the world and have profound effects on quality of life. Though effective treatments are available, many only work on a certain subset of the population and it is difficult to predict which treatment will work for which patient. The current process often involves trying different therapies until one works, but this can significantly prolong the time it takes for patients to get better and can further reduce their quality of life.

Most areas of medicine are able to use ‘biomarkers’ or clinical tests, blood tests, or imaging to help diagnose and treat illness. The search for biomarkers in mood disorders is advancing, but one roadblock to progress is the lack of very large, standardized studies of mood disorders that are needed to accurately identify biomarkers.”

Dr. Benicio N. Frey, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton & McMaster University

The ENABLE platform will aim to address this gap in two ways. First, it will provide Canadian neuroscientists and clinicians with a standardized method for collecting biomarker data from individuals with a range of mood disorder symptoms. Second, the platform will also keep track of participants who could be recruited into clinical trials. By having more information on different biomarkers and quick access to potential candidates for clinical research, scientists will be able to conduct studies to determine which mood disorder treatments are most effective for which sub-population of patients. This will increase the pace of research and therefore reduce the time it takes to find the right treatment for each patient, greatly improving the quality of life of all those affected. 

“The ENABLE platform focuses on collaborative partnerships with academic, community, industry and government stakeholders to enhance depression research and will make data openly available to the broader neuroscience research community,” says Brain Canada President and CEO, Dr. Viviane Poupon. “This collaborative approach is at the heart of Brain Canada’s work. We believe that unlocking the mysteries of the brain can only be done by working together as a community of partners.”

Funding for this PSG has been made possible with the financial support of Health Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada.

To learn more, please visit our directory of funded grants.