Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Research update: Genetic approaches to new tx

TAC relies on its supporting organization, the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI), to carry out research to ascertain the causes of and develop better treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A recent update from SMRI follows.

On March 8, 2007, the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced that SMRI had awarded the institute $10 million a year for ten years to use genetic approaches to find new medications for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This is the largest single award ever given to a U.S. institution for psychiatric research.

The Broad Institute is a joint venture of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The SMRI-funded program will be headed by Dr. Edward Scolnick, a highly experienced psychiatric researcher who was previously in charge of drug development at Merck Pharmaceuticals. The program will utilize the latest in rapidly advancing technology to identify which proteins are affected in these diseases and to then devise new medications to target these abnormal proteins. This new program is part of SMRI’s reallocation of resources to spend three-quarters of its funds to find new medications and the remaining one-quarter on research to find the causes of these diseases.