9 September 2019

Funding for Research into Better Personalised Treatment of Psychiatric Diseases


Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have received funding of DKK 10 million from the Lundbeck Foundation for research into better treatment of psychiatric diseases using personalised medicine.

Professor Hans Bräuner-Osborne and Professor David Gloriam from the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen have received a grant of DKK 10 million from the Lundbeck Foundation. The money will go to a research project focussing on psychiatric diseases and personalised medicine.

The research team seeks to determine how current treatment of psychiatric diseases can be improved, and they will do so by researching the significance of gene variants in patients’ response to various drugs.

‘We hope to identify genetic variants that cause a given drug to not work or cause adverse effects. This is where personalised medicine enters the picture. If we are successful, patients will not have to test a particular drug for two months to see if it works or not. Instead, we would be able to sequence the patient’s DNA and identify the most effective drugs. These are some very serious diseases, and it would really benefit patients for whom we would be able to predict the effect of drugs,’ says professor Hans Bräuner-Osborne.

Schizophrenia, Depression and ADHD
The researchers will focus on the diseases schizophrenia, depression and ADHD. A large share of the drugs used to treat the three conditions are targeted at a group of receptors called G protein-coupled receptors or GPCRs.

‘When treating these diseases, the drugs do not have a satisfactory effect on a fraction of the patients receiving the treatment. We believe the cause may be genetic variations in the receptors targeted. Genetics vary from person to person, and our genetic material contains different variations. We want to study the effect this has on patients’ response to a given drug,’ says Hans Bräuner-Osborne.

The five-year project will be divided into three phases. In the first phase the research team will outline the genetic variants found in the receptors at which the medicine is targeted. Subsequently, they will identify the main variants affecting drug response.

In the second phase they will recreate the selected genetic variants and test them in cell cultures to determine whether the variants in question affect the effect of a given drug. And in the last phase they will compare their results to patient data collected from iPSYCH and Danish patient registers, among other things to determine who has which genetic variants, which drugs they have been given, and whether they have changed drugs.

The title of the project is ‘Advancing personalised medicine for psychiatric diseases through integrative GPCR pharmacogenomics’. It is part of the 18 research project under the theme brain research and personalised medicine, which the Lundbeck Foundation in total has granted DKK 228 million.

Professor Hans Bräuner-Osborne, +45 35334469, hbo@sund.ku.dk
Press Officer Cecilie Krabbe, +45 93565911, cecilie.krabbe@sund.ku.dk