Grant of € 2.8 million for TETRO trial

Promising treatment for treatment-resistant OCD (TETRO trial) 

With a grant of € 2.8 million, several hospitals and mental health institutions led by Amsterdam UMC will conduct research into a new, promising treatment for treatment-resistant compulsive disorders. The funding comes through the funding scheme for Potentially Promising Care of the National Health Care Institute and ZonMw. “I see this as an enormous catalyst,” says research leader and professor of neuropsychiatry Odile van den Heuvel.

OCD can severely limit a person’s life and that of his loved ones. In the Netherlands, at least 100,000 people suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This is characterized by disruptive compulsive thoughts and time-consuming compulsions that can be so disruptive that someone experiences a high level of suffering, often cannot work or study and becomes socially isolated. Roughly half of all people with an OCD can’t be cured or can’t be cured for a long time with existing care (cognitive behavioral therapy and / or medication). There is truly no good alternative for them. The most far-reaching treatment – brain surgery or deep brain stimulation – is only an option for the most extreme cases.

Research group consists of 250 patients
In the coming years, 250 patients will participate in the subsidized research into a new, promising treatment for OCD. The promising treatment is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS. “We think that the group that does not benefit sufficiently from cognitive behavioral therapy can be helped better,” says research leader Van den Heuvel. “We generate an electric current in the brain with the help of a magnetic field. This allows us to stimulate the brain circuit that is responsible for controlling emotions and behavior. We are going to bring the brain into optimal condition, as it were, to increase the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy. ” Patients will undergo rTMS treatment four times a week for a minimum of 5 weeks and a maximum of 7 weeks. Each session is followed by cognitive behavioral therapy.

Catalyst for long-term cooperation
Without the grant, this study would not have happened, Van den Heuvel thinks. When the study results show that rTMS is effective for the group of patients for whom nothing else currently helps, the treatment ends up in the basic insurance. “The grant also enables us as OCD clinics to really achieve national cooperation. I see this as an enormous catalyst, not only for this research, but also for a long-term collaboration from which a lot can still come. ”

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Odile van den Heuvel