The Challenges Facing Neuroscience

Neuroscience is intellectually the broadest and most taxing field in life sciences, and technologically it is the most challenging.

Richard Gallagher(rgallagher@the-scientist.com)
Nov 6, 2005

Neuroscience is intellectually the broadest and most taxing field in life sciences, and technologically it is the most challenging. But even more formidable is the process of converting hard-won progress in basic research into new treatments for disease. That may be why there are just 150 drugs for central nervous system conditions, excluding brain tumors, currently in development, compared with more than 400 in cancer.

Some view the number as an indication that the industry has given up on the sector, despite the fact that one out of every five Americans suffers from a brain-related disease, while the total number of patients globally may exceed 1.5 billion. And the market, has already reached $50–60 billion, depending on the source of the estimate. Others see the relatively low pipeline volume as the result of industry's naturally picking the low-hanging fruit first, and say that it's just a matter of time before...

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