Brigham and Women’s Hospital-McLean Hospital, University of California Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic, University of Michigan, and UTHealth Houston are first sites in the BD² Integrated Network

Washington, DC – BD²: Breakthrough Discoveries for Thriving with Bipolar Disorder today announced the first six institutions that will launch the groundbreaking BD² Integrated Network. Brigham and Women’s Hospital-McLean Hospital, University of California Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic, University of Michigan, and UTHealth Houston together comprise the first sites that will work in partnership with clinicians, researchers, and people living with bipolar disorder to expand knowledge of bipolar disorder while accelerating the translation of that knowledge into clinical care. The BD2 Integrated Network integrates clinical, behavioral, and biological data to gain new insight into bipolar disorder and accelerate improved treatment. Over the next five years, it will engage 4,000 people living with bipolar disorder as part of a longitudinal cohort study.

“For too long, there have been limited breakthroughs in the study and treatment of bipolar disorder,” said Cara Altimus, PhD, managing director for BD² and senior director at the Milken Institute. “This is a landmark endeavor for bipolar disorder that will allow for a more complete understanding of the condition and a path toward precision care. We aim to generate impact on the field like the Framingham heart study has done for cardiovascular disease over the last 75 years.”

Each of these first six sites will work to improve the health and well-being of people living with bipolar disorder, engaging across the network of collaborating investigators and clinicians to:

  • Build an unprecedented data ecosystem consisting of longitudinal clinical and biological data to inform and implement data-driven improvements in care
  • Transform our understanding of the trajectory and heterogeneity of bipolar disorder and generate novel insights that will drive greater understanding of the neurobiology of the illness and facilitate innovative new treatment approaches
  • Use best clinical practices, combined with the power of discovery to accelerate translation of research findings to care for patients

“The BD² Integrated Network is the first initiative in the field of psychiatry that embeds a longitudinal cohort study within a learning health network,” said Katherine Burdick, PhD, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and BD² Integrated Network scientific director. “This is a unique opportunity to discover the behavioral and biological drivers of disease in patients with bipolar disorder and, for the first time, we will have comprehensive research data collected at scale within a clinical care setting, which allows research findings to be more quickly translated into improved care for patients.”

More than 70% of people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed at least once. It takes seven years on average to diagnose bipolar disorder – and less than 50% of those who are diagnosed find an effective treatment. Despite affecting 3% of the global population, and costing an estimated $200 billion annually in health and economic burden in the United States alone, bipolar disorder is often tacked onto studies of other psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, which receive far greater attention and funding.

“Current understanding of the mechanisms of bipolar disorder are inadequate to meet the needs of individuals living with bipolar disorder today,” said Mark Frye, MD, BD² Integrated Network scientific director. “The data, collaboration, and clinical care provided by the Integrated Network will generate new knowledge and reinvest it into improved care. Our goal is to achieve a paradigm shift in our overall understanding of the condition, accelerating the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder worldwide.”

In its first year, BD² dedicated more than $60 million in funding to research that accelerates scientific understanding of bipolar disorder and advances clinical care through cross-disciplinary collaboration, data sharing, and real-time learning. BD² recently announced the recipients of $18 million in grants to examine the fundamental mechanisms of bipolar disorder as part of its Discovery Research program, along with the opening of a second round of funding for the same program.

Quotes from Network site leads:

  • Fernando S. Goes, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Director of the Precision Medicine Center of Excellence in Mood Disorders, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: “We at Johns Hopkins have a long tradition of caring for individuals with bipolar disorder and have been fortunate that so many of them have volunteered for many of our studies in the last two decades. We are delighted to be part of this new initiative which represents a fitting culmination of our prior studies, but at a scale and scope that has realistic potential to bring benefits to our patients in the near term. Along with many clinicians and researchers at Johns Hopkins, we will use the infrastructure and network of the BD² consortium to help us provide better care for our patients today and find better treatments for tomorrow.”
  • Eve Lewandowski, PhD, Director of Clinical Programming, McLean OnTrackTM, McLean Hospital, and Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School: “Millions of people are living with bipolar disorder, and yet significant gaps remain in our understanding of risk and the best ways to deliver personalized treatment. The BD² Integrated Network provides a unique opportunity for leading research programs across the country to collaboratively collect high quality data touching all aspects of the lived experiences of thousands of people living with bipolar disorder. This exciting initiative is positioned to provide new insights and holds the potential to transform care for millions.”
  • Jennifer Kruse, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA Health: “With this generous funding, we and our partners across the country are poised to revolutionize the landscape of care for individuals living with bipolar disorder. Our research will not only enhance our understanding of bipolar disorder but also accelerate the development of tailored treatment approaches. Equally, we are committed to enhancing overall health and well-being for patients, given the disproportionate medical comorbidities and stressors associated with this condition. Ultimately, our mission is to offer hope for a brighter and healthier future for those affected by bipolar disorder.”
  • Kelly Ryan, PhD, ABPP, Clinical Associate Professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry and researcher at Michigan Medicine’s Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program: “We are honored to be part of BD²’s Integrated Network, as one of the inaugural sites that is focused on advancing research and care for bipolar disorder. It will be a transformative network engaging clinicians, scientists, and people with bipolar disorder on a global scale. We hope to take what we learn through longitudinal research and quickly create and test new treatments to improve clinical care.”
  • Jair Soares, MD, PhD, Professor and chair in the Faillace Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston: “This is a landmark initiative that will bring together several prestigious institutions and some of the leading scientists working in this area. We are excited to be part of this important effort and hopeful that the development of key knowledge will help us move towards the goal of precision psychiatry.”