Multimorbidity: Cross-sector opportunities for developing new interventions for patients with multiple long-term conditions

10.00, Monday 19 October 2020

Digital workshop Online

An estimated 54% of people over the age of 65 in the UK have multiple long-term health conditions, often referred to as multimorbidity. As the population ages, the prevalence of multimorbidity is expected to increase to two-thirds of all adults aged over 65 by 2035.

However, despite growing evidence for the occurrence of common ‘clusters’ of chronic diseases, a lack of understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying these clusters, viable drug targets, and the difficulties of conducting clinical trials with patients with multiple conditions all limit the ability to develop treatments for this heterogeneous patient population. As a result, most treatments still typically target single conditions, with little consideration for the underlying root causes within disease clusters. Together with a paucity of medical guidance on multimorbidity, this increases the likelihood of polypharmacy and associated adverse drug reactions.

In partnership with the Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research, this FORUM workshop explored three research priorities which will contribute to the development of effective interventions for patients with MLTC, previously highlighted in the Academy of Medical Sciences working group report in 2018.

1. Adopting data-driven approaches to identify true disease clusters, to help inform research efforts, prioritise the most promising areas and understand patient populations to ensure research remains relevant.

2. Understanding the biological mechanisms that link disease clusters, to reveal new opportunities for drug development, novel drug targets and the potential to treat multiple conditions with single pathways and reduce polypharmacy.

3. Incorporating patients with more MLTC into clinical trials, to ensure that treatments are proven effective and safe in these patients, who are the population most likely to be seen by clinicians in practice.

During this workshop we aimed to identify the key opportunities in each of these areas, as well as what actions the research community needs to take to respond. These workshops convened researchers and policymakers across academia, industry, the NHS, funding bodies, regulatory agencies and others.

Attendance was by invitation only. If you would like to find out more about this workshop, please get in touch with the FORUM team at [email protected].

The Academy’s FORUM provides a neutral and independent platform for individuals from across academia, industry, the NHS and Government, and the charity, regulatory and wider healthcare sector, to meet and take forward national discussions on scientific opportunities, technology trends and associated strategic choices for healthcare. Find out more.

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