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Improving treatment strategies for different depressive disorders by discovery of novel drug target candidates and discriminatory diagnostic biomarkers.

Psychiatric treatment of patients with depressive illness is characterized by very low remission and recovery rates due to inefficient and inaccurate diagnoses along with a high final non-responsiveness to all psychopharmacological medication (30% to close to 64% in psychotic depression ). With this IOF-SBO project, we aim to optimize treatment strategies for uni- and bipolar depression with or without psychotic symptoms by finding alternative entry points for the development of new antidepressant drugs and through the discovery of peripheral biomarkers for accurate and objective discriminatory diagnostics. In order to establish databases of relevant biomarkers as well as putative targets for future development of psychopharmacological drugs, we will conduct a prospective clinical trial in which patients with uni- or bipolar disorder, with or without psychotic symptoms, will receive electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the treatment of last resort when other antidepressants have failed. In parallel, post-mortem patient brain tissues will be retrospectively investigated. Samples of both research arms will be analysed by proteomic and metabolomic methodologies using state of the art liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS). Final comparative analyses of differentially expressed proteins, protein networks and metabolic pathways will result in the establishment of drug target candidate (DTC) databases for each of the aforementioned disorders and one diagnostic database containing biomarkers objectively discriminating between the 4 depressive subtypes.These databases will likely, in follow-up trajectories, lead to the development of novel antidepressant drugs and diagnostic assays to be implemented in a diagnostic device.Preliminary interviews with potential industrial partners revealed a great interest for collaboration with both pharmaceutical and technology investors.
Date:1 Jan 2020 →  Today
Disciplines:Biological psychiatry