Posted on Oct 22, 2013

Virginia Commonwealth University has received a $3 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study key molecular markers in DNA linked to chronic depression.

The grant clears the way for a five-year study between the Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine at the VCU School of Pharmacy and VU University in Amsterdam. The focus of the study? To learn more about methylation biomarkers found in the blood.

“The idea is that these markers will help to predict if a patient is likely to have the chronic form of depression,” said Edwin van den Oord, Ph.D., director of the CBRPM and principal investigator of the study. “With this information, the treatment plan can be adjusted accordingly to directly benefit the patient.”

The team plans to reduce the chances of false discoveries by verifying key findings through different technology.

“Our group has invested heavily in this novel technology, and our previous large scale methylation projects have been very successful, so I am therefore very excited about this project and think we will be able to make a difference,” said van den Oord.

Approximately 15 million American adults are deal with depression every year. Chronic depression is the leading cause for disability between the age groups of 15 and 44.                                                                          

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Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska