The present ECNP schizophrenia network has a high potential of developing a common roadmap about research on schizophrenia treatment, with a focus on unmet needs, based on the research commitment of the group. The network will focus on research topics that may contribute to improve schizophrenia diagnosis and treatment. The enlargement of the group aimed at including researchers with a specific expertise in the field of negative symptoms and cognition, as well as of neuroscience methods and animal research.
Assessment and treatment of negative symptoms will be the key topics for the 2017-2018 period. Negative symptoms represent a central feature of schizophrenia with a strong impact on functional outcome. The construct has evolved in recent years and it is recognized that negative symptoms cluster in at least two dimensions: Avolition (including amotivation, anhedonia and asociality) and Deficit of expression (including affective flattening and alogia) that might have distinct pathophysiological mechanisms.
Current projects of the European network for schizophrenia
One large collaborative study involving all ECNP Schizophrenia Network centers was completed: the ECNP Network on Schizophrenia study on Assessment of Negative Symptoms (ENSANeS).
One large collaborative study is ongoing: the European Long-acting Antipsychotics in Schizophrenia Trial (EULAST).
ENSANeS: a European, cross-sectional, observational study aimed to validate second-generation measures of negative symptoms to refine their assessment for pathophysiological research, as well as to identify clinically meaningful remission criteria for future clinical trials.
EULAST: randomized, open label, multicenter, multinational trial comparing the discontinuation rate between oral and long-acting (paliperidone and aripiprazole) antipsychotics in patients eligible for an antipsychotic switch. There will be a month for the switch and a 18-month follow-up period.
- Continuing recruitment for the European Long-Acting Antipsychotic Trial (EULAST) project
- Dissemination of the ECNP Network on Schizophrenia study on Assessment of Negative Symptoms (ENSANeS) results.
Deliverables and projects 2017-2018
For the current projects of the network, i.e. the European Long-Acting Antipsychotic Trial (EULAST) and the ECNP Network on Schizophrenia study on Assessment of Negative Symptoms (ENSANeS), the following steps and timelines are envisaged:
- End of data collection (December 2018)
- Data analyses (January 2019)
- Publication and dissemination of study results (2018-2019)
- Completion of data analyses (September 2017-March 2018)
- Publication and dissemination of study results (2018)