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Hartford Hospital Lands $1.3M for Genetically Guided Depression Treatment Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Investigators at Hartford Hospital's Genetics Research Center and Institute of Living will use a nearly $1.3 million federal grant to study the use of pharmacogenomic approaches in choosing medications for psychiatric patients.

The GRC and IOL researchers plan to use the funds from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to find out whether the use of genetic testing to select medications affects psychiatric patients' length of stay in the hospital or their readmission rates, Hartford Hospital said on Tuesday.

The project will focus on the CYP2D6 gene, which helps determine how well the liver clears out some, but not all, drugs that are used to treat depression. Some variations in the gene could make the liver clear the drugs faster, which could render the drug ineffective, while other variations decrease the liver's ability to clear certain drugs, which could cause unwanted side effects.

"We are hopeful that our continued research and our findings from this study will have a clinically meaningful impact on future methods to select the most appropriate and effective treatment for people with depression," Carolyn Hoban, VP of research at Hartford Hospital, said in a statement.

The researchers will conduct a randomized clinical trial to compare outcomes in 1,000 patients with major depressive disorder who are treated according to CYP2D6 genotype versus 500 patients who receive the standard therapy. Their expectation is that using CYP2D6 to prescribe medications will lead to shorter hospital stays and fewer patient readmissions.