Unlocking the Genetic Code of Bipolar Disorder
In Australia alone, 250,000 people are affected by bipolar disorder. Current treatments are highly variable for the severe and debilitating psychiatric condition and the specific genetic causes have remained largely obscure.
Bipolar disorder is most commonly treated with lithium, but this is only effective for 30% of patients.
Unlocking the genetic code of bipolar disorder and using pharmacogenomics studies to examine the individual genes and genetic signatures that may predict responsiveness to commonly used treatments are critical for improving the quality of life of people affected by this severe and devastating condition.
In a new collaborative study, Dr Jan Fullerton will lead a team of researchers across NeuRA, the Black Dog Institute, UNSW, the Prince of Wales Hospital, and gain access to genome sequencing facilities at the Garvan Institute.
This study will conduct whole genome sequencing of close to 1,200 individuals across NSW with bipolar disorder, to identify the molecular pathways which increase risk of illness.
The unique research project will contribute to existing international collaborations to further gene discovery efforts, improving understanding of the causes of this complex and highly heritable genetic condition.
This research could enhance capacity for personalised medicine, potentially enabling the identification of individual patients who would benefit from specific treatments based on their genetic makeup.”
The study will utilise over 10 years of health-record data from the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study which is the largest cohort study of healthy ageing in Australia, comprising over 267,000 individuals.