The Netherlands Network for Difficult-To-Treat Depression
The Netherlands Network for Difficult-to-Treat Depression (NDTD) aims to improve depression treatment for patients who do not respond to initial antidepressant treatment: difficult-to-treat depression. The project comprises a unique collaboration between research institutes, mental healthcare organisations, patient organisations, knowledge centres, and pharmaceutical companies. The NDTD takes an innovative approach on studying both conventional and novel treatment strategies to facilitate the positioning of recently developed or marketed agents in the current treatment landscape.
Depression represents one of the most common mental disorders and is currently listed as one of the main contributors to the overall disease burden. In the Netherlands, around 5% of the general population is affected and approximately 19% develops depression in the course of a lifetime. Depression is responsible for €1.6 billion of the annual healthcare costs and represents the condition with the highest contribution to work absenteeism. The effectiveness of available treatment strategies is limited. It is estimated that around 20-30% of the patients do not achieve remission in clinical practice.
Current advances in the pharmacological treatment of depression provide valuable opportunities to improve care for difficult-to-treat patients. This requires a careful integration of novel pharmaceuticals in clinical practice. In the present project, routine healthcare data from multiple sites will be integrated using federated learning to evaluate the benefits and limitations of current treatment strategies. Previously collected clinical trial data and biobank materials will further be analysed to identify patient characteristics that predict treatment outcomes and elucidate the underlying mechanisms of novel treatment strategies.
The NDTD results in a data infrastructure that will be utilised to answer a broad range of research questions pertaining to the pharmacological treatment of depression. The results provide important insight in the best possible treatment strategy for individual patients which guides the positioning of novel pharmaceuticals in routine clinical practice.