First MS patient database under development at UHasselt


DataConnect will allow hospitals and other institutions to input various data to help individualise treatment of the disease

Working together

Hasselt University (UHasselt) is working on a database called MS DataConnect, which will collect information on people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The goal of the database is to improve both the research and treatment of the disease.

MS is an incurable chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. There are about 11,000 people with MS in Belgium.

“Each patient is unique, with a specific disease progression and a unique set of symptoms and reactions to certain drugs or rehabilitation,” explained Liesbet Peeters of UHasselt’s biomedical research institute Biomed. “That makes the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and care for people with MS very difficult.”

The new database, which should be ready by 2018, will help to develop more customised strategies through sharing of data among researchers. This info will include the genetic and immunologic characteristics of patients, the progression of their condition and the medication and rehabilitation techniques they have tried. The combination of so many different kinds of information is unique in the world.

To begin, UHasselt is combining its own data with that of PXL University College, the Revalidatie & MS Centrum Overpelt and the Universitaire Biobank Limburg. The Imperial College London is assisting with ICT expertise.

Once launched, it will be easier to implement MS DataConnect in other hospitals and universities across Europe. It could also serve as an example for the creation of multidisciplinary databases for other chronic diseases.