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The Central Nervous System Disease Biology Area (DBA) oversees the discovery, research and development of novel treatments for diseases such as schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

An overview of the central nervous system and diseases

The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord. The role of the central nervous system, together with the endocrine system (which secretes hormones), is the coordination of the body’s responses and adjustments to the internal and external environment.

Roche research and development in central nervous system diseases encompasses both neurological and psychiatric disorders. We may distinguish between nervous system disorders, considered part of neurology (study of the nerves and the neurons), and other behavioral disorders which come under psychiatry (deals with mental disorders). However, there is much overlap between these disciplines, and neurological disorders often manifest both organic and mental symptoms.

Diseases of the central nervous system represent some of the greatest areas of unmet medical needs and account for one of the largest sections of the global pharmaceutical market. There are variety of central nervous system diseases with diverse causes; including genetic and metabolic disorders; degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; tumors; inflammations; epilepsy and infections. The aging population of the developed world is associated with increasing incidents of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Product portfolio in central nervous system diseases

The Roche portfolio has 10 novel compounds in development for disorders of the central nervous system, including schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and other serious conditions. The most advanced of these are investigational medicines in phase III clinical testing for schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. In addition, we have several compounds in earlier stages of development as potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.