U of S-Led Partnership Launches Anxiety and Depression Research Initiative
November 17, 2006
Source: University of Saskatchewan
Research into anxiety and depression at the University of Saskatchewan receives a $780,000 boost today to develop early diagnosis tools for these debilitating conditions and develop treatments to improve the quality of life of both patients and their caregivers.
The five-year research program, based within the U of S Neuropsychiatry Research Unit (NRU), will look at the underlying causes of anxiety and depression using cellular and animal models. Researchers will also look at better ways to diagnose these disorders, study how new and existing drugs work alone and in combination with others, and assess treatment outcomes.
Funding for the five-year program comes from pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca Canada Inc. ($350,000), the Royal University Hospital Foundation ($250,000), the U of S and College of Medicine ($150,000), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR, $30,000).
"This initiative exemplifies the strength of our neuroscience researchers in developing and enhancing effective research partnerships with community agencies and funding groups," says Steven Franklin, U of S Vice-President Research. "This research is aimed at tackling a major public health problem that robs people of some of their most productive and fulfilling years."
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about one in 20 Canadians will suffer from an anxiety disorder and about one in 12 will experience major depression some time in their lives.
"AstraZeneca is committed to improving patient health and recognizes the importance of research and development to achieve this goal," says Kazi Borkowski, Vice-President of Medical Affairs for AstraZeneca Canada. "We believe our funding will contribute to the development of a better understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders."
"Royal University Hospital Foundation donors are committed to supporting research that leads to faster diagnosis and more effective treatments," said Adrienne Nolan, Executive Director of the Royal University Hospital Foundation. "And our donors are interested in funding partnerships that maximize the opportunity for results."
"In order to improve our response to anxiety and depression, we must fully acknowledge their impact and understand their root causes," says Dr. Remi Quirion, Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA).
"Neuroscientists are only now beginning to expand our basic understanding of how the brain is wired, the role of different neurotransmitters and receptors in exchanging information and how the breakdown in these connections lead to mental illness. CIHR-INMHA is proud to support such excellent work being done at the University of Saskatchewan."
The project, led by NRU director Dr. Xin-Min Li, will strengthen and expand this area of research at the U of S, helping to create a critical mass of researchers to help find the causes of anxiety and depression.
A multidisciplinary team of seven U of S researchers will be involved in a broad range of investigations. The team includes Li, Raymond Tempier, Rudy Bowen, Carl D'Arcy, Lillian Dyck, Marilyn Baetz, and Vern Bennett, all from the U of S department of psychiatry.
"Their "lab to bedside" scope will look at the basic molecular mechanisms of how antidepressants and mood stabilizers work," said Dr. Li. "This knowledge could shed light on how these disorders develop, guiding early diagnosis and more effective treatment."
The project will also provide training opportunities for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and psychiatry residents. About a third of the total amount - $250,000 - is earmarked for two full-time graduate students and one half-time post doctoral fellow.
AstraZeneca Canada Inc. (www.astrazeneca.ca) is a leading global pharmaceutical company with a product portfolio spanning six major therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, oncology, respiratory, neuroscience, and infection. AstraZeneca's growth brands include Arimidex, Atacand, Crestor, Nexium, Seroquel and Symbicort.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (www.cihr.gc.ca) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 10,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Xin-Min LiDirector, Neuropsychiatry Research UnitU of S College of Medicine(306) 966-8573/4438
Sherry ZarinsManager, Therapeutic Area CommunicationsAstraZeneca Canada Inc.(905) 615-6845
Adrienne NolanExecutive DirectorRoyal University Hospital Foundation(306) 655-1050
Dr. Remi QuirionInstitute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and AddictionCanadian Institutes of Health Research(613) 941-4563
Michael RobinResearch CommunicationsOffice of the Vice-President ResearchUniversity of Saskatchewan(306) firstname.lastname@example.org/research
Anxiety and Depression Research Partnership Program
What is anxiety?
While everyone feels anxious at times, people with anxiety disorders can suffer intense, prolonged feelings of fright and distress for no obvious reason. This unease and fear can be crippling, preventing sufferers from interacting with their communities or holding a job. Less severe cases still interfere with relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health problems, affecting an estimated one in 10 people. They are more prevalent among women than among men, and they affect children as well as adults. While anxiety disorders are illnesses and can be treated, researchers continue to work to reduce suffering through earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments.
What is depression?
Like anxiety, depression is a condition everyone feels at one time or another. But for some people, the "black dogs of depression," are constant companions rather than occasional visitors. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, an estimated one in 10 people will suffer from clinical depression, defined as producing symptoms for two weeks or more, with such severity that they interfere with daily living.Clinical depression is treatable, but it must be diagnosed by a professional. This makes research into early diagnostic tools crucial. Work is also ongoing to develop new antidepressants to help treat the condition.More information is available from the CMHA (Saskatchewan Division) at 1-800-461-5483 or www.cmhask.com.
University of Saskatchewan Neuropsychiatry Research Unit
The NRU has a strong research reputation along with excellent facilities and infrastructure for probing mental health and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer's disease and substance abuse.The unit has been supported by the Government of Saskatchewan for 50 years, and has received, on average, $1 million for salaries and core operating support each year over the past two decades. It has also attracted $6 million in external funding over the past three years.The unit consists of six research scientists, 13 post-doctoral fellows, 10 graduate students, one undergraduate, one visiting scientist and eight support staff.
Xin-Min Li (program leader): Professor of Psychiatry and NRU Director- Raymond Tempier, Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health Services of Saskatoon Health Region- Rudy Bowen, Professor of Psychiatry- Carl D'Arcy Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Applied Research, Department of Psychiatry- Lillian Dyck, Professor of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry Research Unit- Marilyn Baetz, Associate Professor of Psychiatry- Vern Bennett, Associate Professor of Psychiatry
AstraZeneca Canada Inc. is a leading global pharmaceutical company with a product portfolio spanning six major therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, oncology, respiratory, neuroscience, and infection.- AstraZeneca's growth brands include Arimidex, Atacand, Crestor, Nexium, Seroquel and Symbicort.- Most of AstraZeneca's 1,400 Canadian employees work at its Canadian headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Mississauga, Ontario. More than 125 highly skilled scientists work at the company's state-of-the-art basic pain research centre based in Montreal, Quebec. The company employs more than 65,000 people world wide. (www.astrazeneca.ca)
Royal University Hospital Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of children and adults living in Saskatchewan. It raises funds to invest in patient care, research, and education at Royal University Hospital for the well-being of the community. (www.rufh.org)
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research is Canada's premier federal funding agency for health research. The CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction supports research into causes, prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems, and palliation for a wide range of conditions associated with the central nervous system. (www.cihr.ca)