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Psychiatric Disorder Overlap, Drug Candidates Found With Gene Expression Approach

A University of Colorado Boulder-led team reporting in JAMA Psychiatry presents findings from a transcriptome-wide structural equation modeling (T-SEM)-based analysis of 13 psychiatric conditions with childhood- or adult-onset patterns. The team used the T-SEM approach to track down 466 genes with expression patterns corresponding to psychiatric disorder-related genes or genetic variants. Along with genes showing similar activity across certain types of conditions, the research highlighted potential drug repurposing strategies targeting genes unearthed in the analyses. "Highlighting the promise of T-SEM-informed drug repurposing, our analyses identify 35 drugs that target genes associated with the shared risk pathways across [bipolar disorder] and schizophrenia, along with [five] drugs targeting transdiagnostic pathways," the authors write. "With recent advances in psychiatric genetics, the field is beginning to deliver on one of the initial promises to propel drug discovery."