AstraZeneca today announced that it has entered into a two-year research collaboration with the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD) to use genetics and stem cell biology to discover new therapeutic methods for neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
This collaboration brings the expertise at LIBD in human genomics, stem cell biology and informatics together with AstraZeneca’s expertise in neuroscience therapy discovery to define new approaches to treating diseases of the brain.
Under the terms of the collaboration, AstraZeneca neuroscientists will work closely with LIBD researchers to identify and validate new therapeutic targets and enhance approaches in patient segmentation to support the development of new medications. Researchers will have access to LIBD’s extensive brain sample-based data set, which includes more than 1000 post-mortem brain samples, DNA samples and brain imaging data from patients, family members and control volunteers.
“There is an urgent need for effective treatments for a broad range of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions,” said Michael Poole, Head of AstraZeneca’s Neuroscience Innovative Medicines and Early Development group. “Thanks to advances in stem cell biology and human genetics, we are seeing a real shift in neuroscience medical discovery where a deeper understanding of the causes of these disorders is opening up new therapy targets and more personalized treatment that will ultimately benefit patients.”
Daniel Weinberger, Director and CEO of the Lieber Institute said: “The Lieber Institute for Brain Development was conceived from the realization that a new approach is needed to accomplish the critical goal of substantially improving the lives of individuals affected by mental disorders. Our research collaboration with AstraZeneca is part of this new approach that will change the landscape of scientific discovery.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About neurological disorders
The World Health Organisation estimates that about 400 million people worldwide live with mental and neurological disorders and recent studies in the US indicate that one in 88 children is diagnosed with autism and one in 100 people has schizophrenia.1-3
About the Lieber Institute for Brain Development
The Lieber Institute for Brain Development, a non-profit Maryland Medical Research Institution affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the only institution in the world focused on understanding the neurodevelopmental origins of schizophrenia and related developmental brain disorders and translating this understanding into improved lives of affected individuals.
The Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD) is a unique public-private partnership, born of historic philanthropic vision and support, and of scientific collaboration between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), select academic institutions, and the pharmaceutical industry. The research of LIBD is translational neuroscience, involving interdisciplinary scientists from clinical and molecular genetics, developmental neurobiology and stem cell biology, computational science, clinical neuroimaging and pharmacogenetics, and therapeutic development. LIBD has unique biological and technological resources, which support the Institute’s collaborative research programme.
The LIBD is located on the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine campus in Baltimore, MD. For more information please visit: http://www.libd.org/
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com. For further information on AstraZeneca Neuroscience, please visit: www.azneuro.com.
Ayesha Bharmal +44 (0)20 7604 8034
Lieber Institute for Brain Development
Jean DuBose 001 410 955 0677
1. World Health Organization. Health and Sustainable Development: Key Health Trends. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/HSD_Plaq_02.2_Gb_def1.pdf [Accessed Dec 2013]
2. National Institute of Mental Health. The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml#Schizophrenia [Accessed Dec 2013]
3. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6103a1.htm [Accessed Dec 2013)
Monitoring Network, 14 Sites, United States, 2008. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6103a1.htm [Accessed Dec 2013]