Blood test to aid diagnosis of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia blood test
Rules-Based Medicine (RBM) is partnering with Psynova Neurotech to co-develop and commercialise a blood test for the diagnosis of schizophrenia
RBM and Psynova will focus on the unmet clinical need for an objective and reliable diagnostic test to accelerate and optimize the treatment of schizophrenia.
The companies will collaborate on the validation, regulatory approval and manufacture of a diagnostic blood test for schizophrenia that will be sold worldwide exclusively by RBM.
The co-development agreement will leverage Psynova's discovery of proprietary biomarkers with RBM's protein biomarker platform and Clia-certified central lab service to accelerate the delivery of an objective diagnostic blood test for schizophrenia.
These biomarkers were discovered through Psynova's collaborative research programme with co-founder Sabine Bahn of the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research (CCNR) at the Institute of Biotechnology, Cambridge University.
The Psynova/CCNR research programme included the processing of clinical samples on RBM's HumanMap, which features over 150 quantitative immunoassays.
"This is a very exciting and important partnership for Psynova," said Sabine Bahn, director and co-founder of Psynova Neurotech.
"RBM's technology platform and clinical screening expertise give us a rapid path to bring the candidate biomarkers identified through our research efforts to the benefit of patients.
"The tests will be a tool to help general practitioners and psychiatrists in the difficult task of diagnosing and treating patients much sooner, ideally, when symptoms are still mild.
"The Psynova biomarkers not only have the potential to help in the identification of disease subtypes, but also in deciding the best treatment options, monitoring patient responses and facilitating novel approaches to drug discovery".
The current diagnosis of schizophrenia is highly subjective and time-consuming, due to the lack of objective biological tests specific for the disease.
The resulting uncertainty in diagnosis leads to delayed treatment, and, in turn, extended suffering and hardship for patients and their families.
In the few studies where early treatment has been implemented in high-risk patient groups, poor outcomes were substantially reduced, as were the duration of untreated illness, inpatient days and the time to remission.
Therefore, a test that provides earlier and more accurate diagnosis of the disease would deliver not only improved patient outcomes but also greatly reduce the overall costs of schizophrenia to health services and society.
"Complex diseases like schizophrenia are an ideal fit for RBM's multiplex testing approach," said RBM CEO Craig Benson.
"By combining RBM's expertise in assay development and testing services with Psynova Neurotech's proprietary biomarkers, we can improve the standard of care for schizophrenia, ultimately providing significant savings to health care systems worldwide.
"We anticipate that this is the first of many collaborations between the two companies, further leveraging other discoveries made by Psynova and the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research".
The Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks - Europe (Gamian- Europe), a pan-European patient-driven federation of national organizations assisting people affected by mental illness, also welcomed the announcement.
"Any diagnostic tool that aids in the early identification of schizophrenia and other chronic mental illnesses will help people begin treatment earlier to avoid much of the pain, hardship and deterioration caused by these devastating diseases," said Dolores Gauci, president of Gamian - Europe.
"Further, such a test could help affected individuals and their carers maintain a better quality of life".
Schizophrenia is a complex, progressive, seriously debilitating psychiatric disorder that affects 1.1 percent of the population - or ~2.4 million American adults - but accounts for a quarter of all mental health costs and takes up to one third of psychiatric hospital bed occupancy.
Direct costs such as general practitioner and specialist consultation, community psychiatric nursing visits, hospital admissions and drug treatment, and indirect costs, which are dominated by lost productivity through incapacity, unemployment and premature mortality, are estimated to total $40 to $60 billion each year in the United States.
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