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Tuesday, 26 November 2019 10:58

New hope for patients with treatment-resistant depression


Magnetic Stimulation of the brain together with advanced software can help patients with depression, who are resistant to existing treatments. A large innovation project is going to develop a new individualised treatment method which is expected, over time, to also be used in treatment of many other brain diseases.

Between 15 and 20 pct. of the Danish population will during their lifetime develop a depression. Everyone having experienced a depression on close hand knows how debilitating the disease can be.

One extremely serious issue is how around 25pct of all depressions become treatment resistant, i.e. all possible treatments with medication, psychotherapy, etc. are fruitless.

Now however, Danish researchers have suggested a treatment of these so far untreatable brain diseases and even with fewer side effects than with conventional medicine.

Treatment personalized

The new treatment is built upon an already known method, on which the network of the brain is magnetically stimulated with help from new medical equipment, which is placed on the head.

The new method is considered a revolution because the equipment along with very advanced software makes it possible to accurately adjust the stimulation in accordance with each individual patient. In cooperation with the industry and international experts, and with the funding from the Innovation Fund, the researchers have begun developing the new medical equipment as well as the advanced software which are to provide the doctors with the improved tool in the fight against depression.

”The project is an extremely unique opportunity to develop a new non-invasive method which is tailored to treat the brain disease in each individual patient. We believe that the results in the long run will not only pave the way for a more efficient treatment of depression but also lead to several new stimulation-based treatments within both psychiatry and neurology,” Project Manager Professor Hartwig Siebner from Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance at Hvidovre Hospital pronounces.

Advantage for patients, relatives and society
Chronically depressed patients drag on a miserable existence unable to work, get an education or in any way enjoy life. A number of these patients even end up committing suicide.

Therefore, the project has a great potential for improving health and life quality for an enormous number of patients, and for relatives, as well as for society in general, since the yearly cost of the disease amounts to more than DKK 10 billion in sickness and retirement benefits.

The Innovation Fund Denmark invests DKK 14.2 million to make it possible to gather an expert team that will bring this unique project all the way from idea to clinical testing and commercialization as stimulation-based precision medicine which is expected to revolutionize the treatment of depression.

Course of action, hardware and software are now to be developed

The project is a collaboration between leading researchers from The Capital Region of Denmark, the Technical University of Denmark, the Danish SME MagVenture and several international partners.

Jointly, they will develop and commercialize the new equipment as well as software which is meant to make the individual stimulation possible and through this process gain the best impact on the individual patient.  

The Danish company MagVenture will be at the head of the technical development of the equipment which makes the advanced brain stimulation possible, and researchers from The Capital Region of Denmark, headed by the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance at Hvidovre Hospital and the Technical University of Denmark as well as the German SME Localite will in parallel develop and integrate the procedure and software, which are to ensure that the stimulation takes into account both the specific disease-related needs of each individual patient and the tailoring according to the brain’s autonomy, due to the fact that this is very different from one person to another.

Psychiatrists from The Capital Region of Denmark as well as Munich will be the head of the first testing of the treatment on patients.  

Hartwig Siebner, professor, DRCMR, Hvidovre Hospital

Phone: +45 38 62 65 41,

Jens Bomholt, head of press and media, Innovation Fund Denmark
Phone: +45 61 90 50 45,


The investment from the Innovation Fund: DKK 14.2 million

Total budget: DKK 22.2 million

Duration: 5 years

Official title: Precision Brain-Circuit Therapy (Precision-BCT):

Personalized multi-target brain stimulation to restore brain function in treatment-resistant depression

anish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance (DRCMR), Hvidovre Hospital

DTU Health Technology, The Technical University of Denmark, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)


Center for Neuropsykiatrisk Depressionsforskning (CNDR), Psykiatrisk Center Glostrup


Localite, Germany

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital, LMU Munich, Germany