What is an ERN
A European Reference Network (ERN) is a virtual network comprised of healthcare professionals spread around Europe. Their objective is to tackle complex or rare diseases and conditions that necessitate highly specialised treatment and a concentration of knowledge and resources. Indeed, often a disease is so rare that expert knowledge is not available in the patient’s country or region and ERN’s facilitate the exchange of knowledge between healthcare professionals across borders. Each ERN has a coordinator who convenes “virtual” advisory boards of medical specialists across different disciplines, using a dedicated IT platform and telemedicine tools to review a patient’s condition for diagnosis and treatment. The patient doesn’t travel but knowledge does.
The first 24 ERNs were launched in 2017, involving more than 900 highly-specialised healthcare units from over 300 hospitals in 26 Member States. Please find the press release from the European Commission here and their ERN Fact Sheet here.
For more information about ERNs, please visit the European Commission’s webpages.
ERN flyers (translated)
What is the ERN-RND?
The European Reference Network for Rare Neurological Diseases (ERN- RND) aims to address the unmet needs of more than 500,000 people living with RNDs in Europe. 60% of those are still undiagnosed. Through coordination and knowledge transfer, ERN-RND shall establish a patient-centred network to address the needs of patients with RND of all age groups, with or without a definite diagnosis, by implementing an infrastructure for diagnosis, evidence-based management, treatment and collection of patient data.
We are currently focusing on the following diseases groups:
- Cerebellar Ataxias and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegias
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Dystonias, Paroxysmal disorders and Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation (NBIA)
- Choreas and Huntington‘s disease
- Atypical Parkinsonism syndromes: Genetic PD, Multiple System Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Corticobasal degeneration
ERN-RND will expand over time in terms of the diseases it covers and in terms of EU countries involved.
ERN-RND factsheet can be found here.
Objectives of the ERN-RND:
- To significantly increase the overall percentage of RND patients with a final diagnosis
- To improve and harmonise care of RND patients across the EU
- To develop, share and implement care pathways and guidelines for all RND groups represented in ERN-RND
- To create, develop and enhance constituents’ capacity to design, implement and supervise RND training, education and capacity building measures at the level of member states and of the network
- To develop a comprehensive and data based European RND cohort to better understand these conditions and thus improve their management and help developing and testing treatments
- To define minimum quality and interoperability criteria for RND registries
EXPERT CENTRES for Rare Neurological Diseases
You will find below the expert centres in rare neurological diseases across Europe that are part of the ERN-RND network. These RND expert centres have been approved by their respective national healthcare authorities and have been thoroughly assessed during the ERN application process.
General information and contact details of the ERN-RND centres can be found at Orphanet, the portal for rare diseases and orphan drugs.