Backgrounder on Neglected Diseases & Related Resources

What are Neglected Diseases? Neglected Diseases (NDs) are infections that afflict the poor, often but not exclusively in the Global South and are characterized by deficient diagnosis, treatment, and prevention technologies, or otherwise widespread failure to implement the health technologies available.  Billions of people live with a high burden of morbidity and mortality from inadequately addressed illness.  Improved health technologies are an essential part of the solution.  Because the vast majority of people living with or at risk for Neglected Diseases are poor, the full power of contemporary biomedical research has yet to be applied for their benefit largely due to poor market incentives.

The resources below provide illustrative* background for several NDs to illustrate their biology and pathology, explain their neglect, and highlight selected efforts underway to address them. Panel discussions at the Medicines for Neglected Diseases Workshop aimed to showcase, discuss, and build consensus on research priorities, pathways to improved health technology development, as well as opportunities for research collaborations and funding.

*this resources list should certainly not be taken as exhaustive; it was difficult to select among and necessarily exclude a great deal of excellent work.


A summary of selected Neglected Diseases (NDs) and analysis of the development status of health technologies: BVGH

Diverse ND lists and related resources are available: GNNTD, G-FINDER (2008, 2009), PLoS, TDRWHO.

Panel 1: Priorities and Pathways to Affordable Drugs, Diagnostics and Vaccines

A discussion of priorities for advancing control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases: PLoS NTDs / P Hotez & B Pecoul 2010

An overview of drugs in the pipeline for Chagas Disease: Nature / J Clayton 2010

Projects in a not-for-profit product-development partnership addressing NDs: DNDi

The World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases supports studies by numerous groups in a wide variety of NDs and research areas: TDR

Panel 2: Collaborations with Industry and Product-Development Partnerships

Case studies of successful collaborations in global health: BVGH, Case Studies for Global Health

An overview of organizational model and strategy of a product-development partnership and its efforts to develop new treatments for protozoan parasites: R Don & E Chatelaine 2009

A review of drug discovery in academia: Drug Discovery Today / JA Frearson & IT Collie 2009

Panel 3: Funding Sources, Trends and Policy Proposals

In 2009, almost $3 billion was spent on ND health technology research and development.  Of this, $1.88bn (63.4%) was by governments and multilateral agencies, $716.5m (24.2%) by philanthropic funders and $365.3m (12.3%) by industry.  Please see a comprehensive study of funding allocations for NDs: PLoS Medicine / M Moran et al. 2010

Detailed information about the breakdown of funding for NDs can be freely accessed using the new G-FINDER search tool, published by the Health Policy Division** of the George Institute: G-FINDER tracks ND funding by disease, technology type, donor, and recipient

A discussion of prizes to stimulate research into anti-infectives: SciDev / J Love 2008

A summary of the proposed prize fund for a TB diagnostic for use in developing countries: Global Health R&D Policy Assessment Center

An extensive list of resources (research materials and information) available for lab researchers: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

**the HPD has now become established as Policy Cures, an independent consulting group.

MeND2010: 10-11 September, 2010, Boston University
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