The Canadian subsidiary of neurological disease specialist Lundbeck has donated $2.7 million towards a nationwide study aimed at identifying biomarkers of major depression and bipolar disorder, according to PharmaTimes.
Lundbeck Canada’s donation will fund the Canadian Depression Biomarker Network, a research initiative involving six academic centers across Canada and led by the Toronto-based University Health Network.
The six centers are the University Health Network (comprising Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals, Princess Margaret Hospitals and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute), the Ontario Cancer Biomarker Network, McMaster University, Queen’s University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary.
Future treatment of mood disorders lies in personalized medicine, which entails identifying biomarkers and developing targeted therapies, said Lundbeck Canada and its partners. This in turn calls for large-scale studies to define accurately sub-populations.
The biomarker approach combines clinical data (including measures of anxiety, cognition, function/quality of life, life events, personality and symptom severity) with molecular data to provide measures of gene and protein function in the body as well as brain scans that characterize the function of important mood-regulating brain circuits, the partners noted.
The Canadian Depression Biomarker Network will conduct a large-scale, nationwide research project in which detailed clinical, neuro-imaging, genetic and molecular data will be collected from people with depression during a standardized, two-stage course of treatment.
The research team will then identify individuals whose symptoms remitted and those whose symptoms did not. Informatics and mathematical modeling techniques will be used to profile individual patients, make personalized predictions about treatment responses, develop appropriate treatment algorithms and identify new therapeutic targets.
Around one in eight people in Canada will develop depression during their lifetime, with the total cost to the Canadian economy estimated at $51 billion per year.