Central nervous system (CNS) disorders

The central nervous system (CNS), composed by our brain and spinal cord has been thoroughly studied, yet still holds many secrets.

Fast facts on the central nervous system [1] :

  • The brain is the most complex organ in the body and uses 20 percent of the total oxygen we breathe in.
  • The brain consists of an estimated 100 billion neurons, with each one connected to thousands more.

CNS disorders are a broad category of conditions in which the brain does not function as it should, limiting health and the ability to function. The condition may be inherited, the result of damage from an infection, a degenerative condition, stroke, a brain tumor, or arise from unknown or multiple factors [2, 3, 4].

Spine injury pain in sacral and cervical region concept

There is a social, clinical and economic need for improved therapies for CNS disorders [5].

The development of new CNS pharmaceutics has lagged behind other therapeutic areas due to several factors, including the complexity of the diseases [6]. The decline of CNS drugs into clinical development since 1990 and their high rates of late-stage failure suggest that policymakers should focus their efforts in the understanding of the bases for CNS disorders so as to identify more active therapeutics for initial testing, rather than curtailing the late-stage testing needed to show that new therapeutics are likely to have meaningful clinical impact [5].

Several CNS disorders involve comorbidity [7], i.e. the presence of two or more disorders within a single individua [8]l. The overlapping symptoms in CNS comorbidity represent challenges for diagnosis and treatment [9].


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307076.php
  2. Krames, Peckham, and Rezai (eds). Neuromodulation v.1-2, p. 978 (2009)
  3. Pardridge, J Cerebral Blood Flow & Metab 32, 1959-1972. (2012)
  4. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). AAV2-GDNF for Advanced Parkinson’s Disease. In: ClinicalTrials.gov [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US). 2000- [cited 2013 Sept. 23]. Available from: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01621581 NLM Identifier: NCT01621581;
  5. Kesselheim, Nat Rev Drug Discov, 14, 815–816 (2015);
  6. DiNunzio and Williams, Drug Dev Ind Pharm.; 34(11):1141-67 (2008);
  7. Tabarés-Seisdedos and Baudot, Front Physiol, 7: 117 (2016);
  8. Valderas et al., Ann Fam Med 7(4):357-63 (2009);
  9. Katzman et al., BMC Psychiatry 22;17(1):302 (2017);