Gene Study on Psychosis Has Had a Promising Start
[THU JAN 19 2017; A8; ”Psykoosin geenitutkimus alkanut lupaavasti,” Ursula Ryynänen]
755 study subjects in Kanta-Häme and Pirkanmaa.
The aim of the study is to make better treatment possible.
The Finnish SUPER Study on genetic mechanisms of psychotic disorders, that was started last year, has been well received.
As part of the international Stanley Global Neuropsychiatric Genomics Initiative, the Finland division’s aim is to reach 10 000 Finnish study subjects. In 2016, 2 789 patients volunteered.
– The study will continue until the end of 2018, and our goal in the Kanta-Häme area is 300-400 study subjects, says regional coordinator Kimmo Suokas, Tampere University Hospital.
Psychotic disorders are found to involve hereditary susceptibility, but of the gene forms that make a person susceptible, very few are known.
Finland is the first of the countries where the study is to be conducted, in the future to be followed by Mexico, Japan, China, and several African countries. The aim is to collect over 100 000 genetic samples from around the world.
The research area for Tampere University Hospital includes, in addition to Tampere, the regions of Lahti and Seinäjoki.
Adults who have been diagnosed with some form of psychotic disorder, for example psychotic depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, can participate in the research.
The research can be conducted in the facilities of outpatient clinics, healthcare centers, or social housing units.
– At the end of last year, our research team visited the Kanta-Häme central hospital, and now we intend to begin research using the health services of the city of Hämeenlinna, reveals Suokas.
It’s possible to sign up for participation through doctors, nurses, or the website www.superfinland.fi. Participation entails an interview, measurements, and a blood sample, taking approximately an hour and a half.
The study aims to identify biological mechanisms, which makes it possible to develop new ways of treatment and new medicaments.
– 2 or 3 percent of the Finnish population are diagnosed with a psychotic disorder at some point in their life. With this study, we try to reach at least one in six, says Suokas.
The analysis of the 2 000 Finnish samples already collected has begun, but the global results won’t be ready until the year 2020.
– Everyone’s genes are different, so it requires a huge amount of samples to be able to see the significant differences. The pool now being collected is the first to extend to other continents besides Europe and North America.
The funds for the research project comes through Harvard University. The Stanley Center attached to the university is named after a boy suffering of bipolar disorder, whose billionaire father has funded research into psychiatric research with millions of dollars.
Every participant is asked if the information gathered from their sample can be recorded in the biobank maintained by the National Institute of Health and Welfare, THL.
– The great thing about this project is that the Stanley Center receives data that interests them, but all the material that’s collected in Finland can also be used in the Finnish academic field.
Suokas praises the legislation regarding Finnish biobanks.
– From what I gather, it’s the first legislation in the world to guarantee the information to be both secure and accessible.