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A new medical and research center focused on neuroimmune axis disorders named the Metrodora Institute, based in Salt Lake City, announced its launch today with the goal of accelerating the development of better diagnostics and therapeutics for this under-researched class of diseases. According to the Institute, it will gather resources that include clinicians, scientists, and engineers to translate findings into improved patient care regimens.

Neuroimmune axis disorders are complex chronic illnesses that trigger dysfunctional interactions across multiple body systems, including the nervous, immune, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems. It is estimated that four in 10 people in the U.S.—and hundreds of millions worldwide—live with at least one chronic disease resulting from the dysregulation of the neuroimmune axis.

“In order to improve the lives of people living with neuroimmune axis disorders, we must accelerate progress towards treatments and cures. This requires a new healthcare model that effectively closes the gap between clinical medicine and scientific discovery,” said Laura A. Pace, MD, PhD, CEO and co-founder of the Institute. “Our approach to multidisciplinary care brings medical specialists together with scientists focused on discovering treatments and cures. By redefining how we diagnose and care for patients with these complex, multisystem disorders, we are leading the next frontier of medicine by addressing a significant unmet medical need.”

One impetus for the launch of Metrodora is the marked increase in the prevalence of neuroimmune axis disorders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These disorders include long COVID, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Neuroaxis disorders are typically triggered by an immune-activating health event such as an infection, surgery, injury, or hormone change. There remain no cures for these disorders and treatment regimens to alleviate systems are limited.

Similar to patients with a rare disease, immune axis patients often face a long diagnostic journey due to the complexity of these disorders and the fact that they often impact multiple systems with the body. Metrodora seeks to overcome this hurdle by having multiple medical specialties under one roof to allow patients to receive more comprehensive testing over the course of a few weeks, as opposed to a diagnostic journey that can currently take years. The Institute’s clinical program brings together neurology, immunology, and gastroenterology care with genetics, pain management, comprehensive rehabilitation programs, nutritional and neurocognitive therapies addressing patients’ care needs.

The Institute has also created new, state-of-the-art research and pathology laboratories located within its clinical operation to allow for the fast translation of scientific discovery to clinical care. It has a goal of seeing 20,000 patients per year, each of whom will have the opportunity to consent to allow for the collection of biological samples for research purposes. These include blood, tissue, and microbiome samples, combined with biometric data and surveys with patients agreeing to participate also gaining better access to clinical trials. According to a Metrodora press release, announcing its launch, it will become the first biobank and high-density data repository with a focus on neuroimmune disorders.

“Access to high-quality patient samples and high-density data is critical for making the scientific breakthroughs required to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of complex diseases,” said James Hemp, PhD, CSO and co-founder of Metrodora Institute. “Until now, high-quality biobanks and data repositories have not existed for this disease space. The richness of Metrodora’s comprehensive biological data is truly revolutionary. By providing researchers with access to essential high-density data and ensuring that their work is informed by real-world clinical experience, we believe we can advance treatments and discover cures faster.”

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