RC2NB - Research Center for Clinical Neuroimmunology and Neuroscience Basel

The newly founded research center RC2NB coordinates and intensifies research in the field of multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology in Basel. The Department of Clinical Research (DKF) provides support with its many years of experience in data analysis/statistics, data management, data science and regulatory affairs.

The Research Center for Clinical Neuroimmunology and Neuroscience Basel (RC2NB), is run by a non-profit foundation of the University Hospital Basel (USB) with participation of the University of Basel. It was founded at the USB in late 2019 as a logical continuation of a decade-long commitment and internationally renowned, clinically oriented research for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neuroimmunological diseases.

MS is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, in which the inflammation and related degenerative processes lead to a breakdown of the myelin layer and damage to the nerve cells themselves. For this reason, those affected suffer from relapsing-remitting deterioration on the one hand, but also from slowly increasing physical limitations on the other. The cause of this disease, which affects about 15,000 mainly young people in Switzerland and about 2.5 million worldwide, is not known. Genetic and environmental factors play a role, which lead to an excessive reaction of the immune system.

A cure is unfortunately not yet possible. However, the new drugs developed in the last 20 years with the significant involvement of Basel Neurology can not only prevent relapses but also stop the increasing physical limitations. Many MS sufferers can therefore lead a largely unimpaired and productive life in the long term.

Logo RC2NB

Prof. Ludwig Kappos
Prof. Jens Kuhle, Deputy

Dr. Yvonne Nägelin, COO

Workstream 1
Digital Future

Dr. Yvonne Naegelin, Dr. Johannes Lorscheider, Dr. Marcus D’Souza and Prof. Ludwig Kappos

Workstream 2
Innovative imaging and analysis of body fluids
Prof. Cristina Granziera and Prof. Jens Kuhle

Workstream 3
Recording and understanding the malfunctioning of the immune system in the laboratory
Prof. Tobias Derfuss, PD Dr. Matthias Mehling und PD Dr. Anne-Katrin Pröbstel

DKF support
Data Analysis/Statistics, Data Management, Data Science, Regulatory Affairs

With advances in the development of new therapies for MS, the question is not if, but how and when to treat. This requires the complete and accurate characterization of the course of the disease. The RC2NB aims to strengthen internationally recognized expertise and innovative research projects on this topic in Basel and to complement them with research on digital biomarkers and with methods of information processing and artificial intelligence.

Prof. Ludwig Kappos, CEO RC2NB

Bundled forces

The team around Prof. Ludwig Kappos in the Department of Neurology and at the MS Center in Basel has been significantly involved in the clinical testing of almost all drugs for MS that have now been approved. Several competitively funded research groups are dedicated to improving the clinical, imaging, biochemical, molecular and cellular characterization of the disease process and understanding the effects and side effects of newly developed therapies. The largest MS center in Switzerland and systematically documented patient cohorts coordinated from here, together with local, national and international networking with academic institutions and the research industry, provide the best conditions for this research. They also allow the translation of their results into advances in diagnostics and therapy.    

The new research center, with its new research area on innovative digital biomarkers, will strengthen the existing expertise by further developing structures for managing and processing large amounts of highly complex data. Cutting-edge methods of artificial intelligence will also be used. The RC2NB does not aim to build up its own new structures, but to use and further develop existing structures of the USB and the university and thus make them even more useful for research. The existing research departments and especially the Department of Clinical Research (DKF) play a central role in this process.

Three workstreams - one vision

The activities at the RC2NB are divided into three workstreams, which drive different research areas in parallel but at the same time remain intensively networked with each other in order to live the vision of the RC2NB together.

RC2NB aims to combine the expertise already present in the field for a comprehensive and in-depth characterization of the disease process and to complement and strengthen joint innovative research in MS and other inflammatory diseases of the nervous system. Especially the integration of information from the different workstreams and the analysis of these multidimensional data with innovative methods of biostatistics and artificial intelligence will be a core competence of the center. It will ensure the intensive exchange between the different working groups in neurology and other research groups at the USB.


The role of the DKF

The DKF supports the RC2NB as an academic partner with its many years of experience in the fields of data analysis/statistics, data management, data science and regulation.


DKF staff for the RC2NB (from left to right): Andrea Wiencierz, PhD, Fabrice Noel Helfenstein, PhD, Sabine Schädelin, MSc, Pascal Benkert, PhD. Not on the picture: Suvitha Subramaniam, MSc.

October 2020