Unraveling the Genome: Pfizer Contributes to Groundbreaking Schizophrenia Research
The international weekly science journal Nature recently published findings from a large, multi-country study identifying 108 genes, 83 of these unknown before, as contributing to schizophrenia risk. These findings more than triple the number of genetic associations previously known for this disease. Pfizer, through an agreement with the Broad Institute, contributed samples to the investigation, which was conducted by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), a collaboration of more than 80 institutions that analyzed data for more than 150,000 adult subjects.
This groundbreaking study provides important new insight into the biologic basis of this devastating disease. As with other conditions, defining the genetic origins of the disease will help the scientific community understand what could make certain people vulnerable to schizophrenia. According to the World Health Organization, schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people worldwide. Those living with schizophrenia suffer lifelong, functionally disabling symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.
“Defining the genetic origins of a complex cognitive disorder such as schizophrenia is critical to discovering new investigational therapies,” said Michael Ehlers, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Neuroscience Research Unit. “Having played a role in this seminal research emphasizes our commitment to advancing the science that underpins novel therapies for severe neuropsychiatric diseases like schizophrenia.”
The contribution of samples to the Consortium represents a continuation of Pfizer’s approach to open innovation. Over time, these results will help identify new drug targets and define patient subpopulations most likely to benefit from new therapeutics.