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Mar 20, 2007

New Genetic Link to Schizophrenia Risk Found

  • PGxHealth demonstrated a novel association between a cytokine receptor gene region and schizophrenia.

    The company compared genetic variants in individuals with schizophrenia to individuals who do not have the disease. A whole genome scan revealed a strong effect of a new region near the CSF2RA gene. Sequencing revealed specific genetic variants in this gene as well as IL3RA genes associated with schizophrenia.

    These convergent results from two independent studies suggest that genetic variants in this region contribute to risk of developing schizophrenia, according to PGxHealth. They believe that it may ultimately contribute to a genetic diagnostic test that assesses this risk and/or defines schizophrenia subtypes.

    PGxHealth has filed patent applications related to its findings. The company says that it will consider commercializing the results with other interested parties with a focus on developing diagnostic tests for schizophrenia.
    The results contributed by PGxHealth were derived from its CARING (clozapine and agranulocytosis relationships investigated by genetics) study.

    The study was reported in the March 20 issue of Molecular Psychiatry. The publication was the result of a collaboration between PGxHealth and The Zucker Hillside Hospital Division of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, and Harvard Medical School.



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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