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NIMH Offering $6M Next Year for Depression Biomarkers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Mental Health will provide around $6 million and up to $24 million over four years to support researchers seeking biomarkers that could be used in predicting patient response to depression drugs.

The Biosignature Discovery for Personalized Treatment in Depression grant program will fund one or more projects that aim to identify a personalized treatment algorithm which will be tested in a future clinical trial, and will support a sample resource from depression patients.

The research should seek panels of potential biomarkers that can be used to predict patient outcomes or adverse events in major depressive disorder (MDD) and to establish a data resource to be used in further MDD studies. Studies funded under this program should recruit adult patients to undergo in-depth clinical diagnostic evaluations and provide information on a range of potential biomarkers.

While there are effective drug treatments available for depression, there is "considerable variation in treatment outcomes," according to NIMH.

"Many patients do not derive sufficient benefit from the first treatment they receive and require multiple sequentially delivered treatments, or concurrent administration of multiple treatments. In clinical practice, many patients who do not respond to the first treatment do not return to explore other treatment options that might eventually be effective," the institute said in the request for applications.

NIMH wants researchers to collect and store whole blood and other bio-samples, including pre-and post-treatment samples, which will serve as a community resource. Scientists could turn to that resource for analytical studies seeking pharmacogenetic, epigenomic, metabolomic, proteomic, and transcriptomic biomarker profiles.

NIMH has invited prospective applicants to join a pre-application teleconference on Monday, Sept. 28.