New project to look at the genetics of depression

17 May 2005

A new initiative, the NEWMOOD project, was launched at the annual Human Genome Meeting in Berlin last week. The project is a multinational study into the genetics of depression and mood disorders. A team of researchers in thirteen laboratories from ten different countries, co-ordinated by Professor Bill Deakin of the University of Manchester, will search for genes related to depression with the aim of driving the discovery of novel drug targets. Current anti-depressant drugs largely work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, but are ineffective in up to half of patients; it is hoped that NEWMOOD will identify alternative targets, as well as furthering understanding about depression and potentially creating new animal models for study of the disease. Clinical depression, a condition that affects some 120 million people worldwide and is thought to be to be increasing in incidence, is known to have both genetic and environmental causes. The five-year project has been awarded funding of

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