Depression will be the highest cause of ill health in the European Union by 2030, according to a forecast by the World Health Organization. Despite this, treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has been stagnant for decades, relying on a process of trial and error in which up to two-thirds of patients don't receive fully satisfactory results. With this in mind, the Horizon-2020 funded PREDICT project has been gauging the interest for a new software solution that could help to select the optimal treatment for patients diagnosed with MDD. Predicting the right treatment PREDICT is a cloud-based analytics tool that estimates the likelihood of a patient to response to treatments, by identifying specific patterns of electrical signals in the brain through electroencephalogram recordings (EEGs). It was developed by elminda, a biotechnology firm based in Israel, which currently has 61 patents and the world's largest proprietary database of standardised EEG recordings. The tool records the cortical activity non-invasively while the patient is at rest and carrying out simple cognitive tasks that will show up as event-related potentials (ERPs). The tool uses elminda's Brain Network Analytics (BNATM) technology to transform this data into clinically relevant maps of brain activity and connectivity. The advanced algorithms compile the information into a PREDICT report, with a scoring system that assesses the likelihood that a patient will respond to treatments. Different reports are prepared in real-time for the patient and the physician, provided through a computer or a tablet. Clinicians can then use this information to support their treatment decision. Magnetic influence A recent development in the treatment of MDD is the arrival of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive technique that uses magnetic fields to alter cortical activity, one that has shown promise in some patients – particularly those who haven't responded strongly to psychopharmacological treatments. PREDICT assesses the efficacy of both TMS and different classes of psychopharmacological anti-depressants, as well as the time it will take a patient to respond to each treatment. By doing so PREDICT enables clinicians to assign the most effective treatment from the first time. It could also accelerate TMS adoption across the EU which has so far been sluggish. Personalised treatment plans could help make the process more effective and less time consuming for patients and clinicians, reducing economic burdens on EU healthcare systems. Boosting a sluggish uptake The team at elminda, in Israel, carried out a feasibility study and market research on the commercial potential of their product, speaking to clinicians and regulatory experts in several European countries. "The research included analyses of the MDD treatment market, identifying local and global competitors, collecting feedback from private and public payers, healthcare experts, neurologists, and psychiatrists," says Dr Ziv Peremen, VP Medical Solutions at elminda. "We believe that PREDICT has the capability to revolutionise the health market by providing MDD patients with optimised treatment planning and increased and quicker remission rates," he adds. With phase one of the project completed, elminda is preparing for a second phase, also funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. This stage will focus on validation in a clinical setting and securing regulatory approval. They hope sales in the EU will start as early as 2021. "PREDICT promises better medical care for MDD patients and a significant reduction in the financial burden for society," Dr Peremen adds.
PREDICT, health, depression, treatment, brain, EEG, algorithms, funding, forecast, TMS