16 June

GALENOS to revolutionise mental health research and treatment

We are delighted that The Lord Mayor's Appeal's support has helped charity partner MQ Mental Health Research in their newly announced project, GALENOS. Aiming to speed up the process of developing novel therapies and predicting effective treatments, the Global Alliance for Living Evidence on aNxiety, depressiOn and pSychosis (GALENOS) aims to try to understand the underlying mechanisms of mental health conditions through the creation of an open-access platform that catalogues and evaluates the full spectrum of relevant scientific research, including human and preclinical studies. 

MQ Mental Health Research's CEO Lea Milligan shared this following the announcement: 

In the realm of mental health, the progress in developing novel therapies and predicting effective treatments has been disappointingly slow. To address this challenge and deliver better care to patients, it is crucial to understand the underlying mechanisms of mental health conditions, develop targeted interventions, and improve our diagnostic and predictive capabilities.

The Global Alliance for Living Evidence on aNxiety, depressiOn and pSychosis (GALENOS) aims to tackle these obstacles through the creation of an open-access platform that catalogues and evaluates the full spectrum of relevant scientific research, including human and preclinical studies. By synthesising existing evidence, GALENOS seeks to reduce waste, improve efficiency, and accelerate the translation of research findings into effective interventions for anxiety, depression, and psychosis. Funded by Wellcome Trust and led by Prof Andrea Cipriani from University of Oxford the partnership brings together a global collaboration of experts to take on the challenge: 

The Need for Breakthroughs in Mental Health Research

Anxiety, depression, and psychosis pose significant burdens on individuals and society as a whole. Despite current prevention approaches and treatments, many individuals do not experience significant improvement. The field of mental health science faces several barriers that hinder progress:

  1. Fragmentation and Ideology: Polarized arguments without sufficient evidence impede progress. Mental health science must establish a foundation of common ground based on rigorous data to drive the discovery of new treatments.
  2. Symptom-Focused Interventions: Many interventions focus on alleviating symptoms rather than addressing the underlying causes and persistence of mental health conditions. Understanding these underlying mechanisms is crucial for developing effective targeted interventions.
  3. Community Involvement: Research must prioritise outcomes that matter most to affected individuals and communities. Meaningful engagement with people who have lived experience of mental health conditions is essential in shaping future research and recommendations.
  4. Appraising and Translating Research: The high volume of scientific publications makes it increasingly challenging to evaluate and translate research advances into clinical practice in a timely and rigorous manner. Evidence synthesis strategies are needed to harness prior work effectively.

GALENOS: Revolutionizing Mental Health Research

To address these challenges, GALENOS has launched a research program with the goal of continuously updating and synthesizing scientific literature on anxiety, depression, and psychosis. The program includes the following key pillars: 

  1. Coproduction with Experts through Experience: GALENOS prioritizes equal partnerships with individuals who have lived experience of mental health conditions. Their unique perspectives and insights are integrated into all aspects of the research, from topic selection to governance and strategic leadership.
  2. Summarizing Various Sources of Evidence: GALENOS analyses evidence from a range of study designs, including preclinical experiments, observational studies, and clinical trials. By applying suitable statistical models for meta-analysis and evaluating biases, GALENOS aims to provide comprehensive and reliable conclusions.
  3. Curation by a Global Community: GALENOS fosters global collaboration, engaging mental health clinicians, researchers, evidence synthesis methodologists, statisticians, and experts in technology and data science. This diverse collaboration ensures a global perspective and strengthens the dissemination of knowledge.
  4. Maximising the Value of Data: GALENOS produces an open-access and interactive platform that publishes living systematic reviews and provides user-friendly summaries. Updated datasets, extracted study characteristics, risk assessments, and meta-analysis results are made available according to FAIR principles, enabling the efficient identification of relevant research.

GALENOS represents a transformative initiative aimed at revolutionising mental health research and treatment. By leveraging existing data, facilitating dynamic representation and understanding of research findings, and engaging a global community, GALENOS seeks to accelerate progress in developing tools, treatments, and systems for the prevention and early intervention of anxiety, depression, and psychosis. This initiative calls upon interested individuals to join the endeavor, use GALENOS products, and contribute to improving the global research enterprise.

Through its commitment to coproduction, evidence synthesis, global collaboration, and data optimisation, GALENOS has the potential to reshape mental health research and address the pressing challenges faced by individuals with mental health conditions. By fostering innovation and collaboration, GALENOS aims to drive discoveries, develop effective interventions, and promote personalized care that makes a tangible difference in the lives of individuals worldwide.

We anticipate that GALENOS's outputs will be of high value not only in advancing the mission of Wellcome's mental health program but also in driving progress within the broader mental health research community. By embracing the vision of GALENOS and its commitment to evidence-based solutions, we can work towards a world where no one is held back by mental health problems.

Join us in this important endeavour, and together, lets create a future where mental health research and treatment are more efficient, effective, and accessible to all.

Find out more about the partnership here

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