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October 2011: Personalized Depression Therapy Approach

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 2011: Personalized Depression Therapy Approach

People suffering from depression often undergo long and ineffective therapy. This is due to the fact that standardized medications do not work for all patients. The personalized therapy approach, however, tries to take patients’ biological differences into account, thus leading to individualized treatment. The Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, is one of the leading research locations worldwide to establish biomarkers of depression and therapy success. Profiling of patients for genetic and protein markers, testing of their stress reactivity, monitoring sleep parameters, and measuring brain activity allow a more precise characterization of patients’ disease state and recommended medication.

Florian Holsboer’s team discovered that the ABCB-1 gene sequence determines the concentration of certain antipsychotic drugs in the brain – and thus their potential benefit. ABCB-1 encodes a molecular transporter in the blood-brain-barrier controlling the access of substances, like antidepressants, into the brain. For successful therapy, the concentration and type of the prescribed antidepressant have to be adjusted depending on the individual functionality of the ABCB-1 protein in patients. As the first medical center in Germany, the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry offers its patients genetic profiling to enable an individual therapy for depression.

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