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NIH Puts Two New Genomic-Based Mental Health Assets on Licensing Market

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Institutes of Health has made available for licensing two new genomics-based technologies: one that could help develop treatment for two neurological disorders, and a predictive diagnostic for the risk of suicide during anti-depressant treatment.
The first technology, developed by researchers at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, may offer treatment opportunities for neurological disorders such as depression and memory loss, but also could have "unexpected utility in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and conditions," the NIH said.
The NHLBI researchers found that a catalytic sub-unit of the DNA-dependent protein kinase complex known as DNA-PKcs "plays novel, important roles in energy regulation and neurological function."
Mature, DNA-PKcs-deficient mice "have a lower proportion of fat, resist obesity, and have significantly greater physical endurance than wild-type control mice, particularly with increasing age," the inventors found.
The scientists also discovered that these mice have better memory and less anxiety. According to the NIH, the invention "also discloses methods for reducing inflammation and for treating heart disease."
The NIH said this technology is available for exclusive, co-exclusive, or non-exclusive licensing. It is covered under US Provisional Application No. 60/958,714, and was filed this past July.
The second technology is a diagnostic that could help predict the likelihood of suicide during treatment with certain depression drugs.
Scientists working for the National Institute of Mental Health genetically screened patients with major depression who were treated with the antidepressant Celexa. The researchers linked two genes to suicidal thinking associated with antidepressant use.
"Having both implicated versions increased risk of such thoughts more than 14-fold," the NIH said. "By identifying those patients who need close monitoring, alternative treatments and/or specialty care, these genetic tests should prevent the under prescribing of anti-depressant drugs and the resulting possibility of suicide due to sub-optimal treatment."
This technology is covered by a patent assigned U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/854,978, which was filed in October 2006.

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