Multicenter collaborative networks are essential for advancing research and improving clinical care for a variety of conditions. Research networks are particularly important for central nervous system infections, which remain difficult to study due to their sporadic occurrence and requirement for collection and testing of cerebrospinal fluid. Establishment of long-term research networks in resource-limited areas also facilitates diagnostic capacity building, surveillance for emerging pathogens, and provision of appropriate treatment where needed. We review our experience developing a research network for encephalitis among twelve hospitals in five Peruvian cities since 2009. We provide practical suggestions to aid other groups interested in advancing research on central nervous system infections in resource-limited areas.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by NIH Fogarty International Center grant RO1NS55627 to Joseph R. Zunt. This work was also supported by the National Institutes of Health Office of the Director, Fogarty International Center, Office of AIDS Research, National Cancer Center, National Eye Institute, National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Health, and NIH Office of Women's Health and Research through the International Clinical Research Fellows Program at Vanderbilt University ( R24 TW007988 ).
Interviews with 48 neurologists across Peru helped lay the groundwork for the research network. When asked to define research priorities, neurologists consistently identified CNS infections as one of their top priorities. A major need identified was improved diagnostic assays for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This preliminary research was funded by an R21 NIH Fogarty Brain Disorders grant and formed the basis for an R01 NIH Fogarty International Center grant, which funded the full research network project.
- Central nervous system infections
- Herpes simplex virus