Treatment resistance and drug side effects in schizophrenia

Theme Translational data science

Workstream Genetic evidence to prioritise intervention

Status: This project is ongoing

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition where people may see, hear or believe things that aren’t real. People living with schizophrenia usually require lifelong treatment. Unfortunately, not everyone diagnosed with the condition will respond to the treatment they are given. Treatment-resistant schizophrenia affects a significant proportion of patients and means they will continue experiencing symptoms despite being given medication.

Clozapine is used to treat treatment-resistant schizophrenia. It is usually given to people who haven’t responded to other treatments. However, it is not a first-line drug of choice because of the number of severe side effects patients frequently report developing after taking it.

We are interested in determining whether genetics has an impact on treatment resistance and drug side effects in schizophrenia. We are also interested in using genetic data to more deeply understand drug side effects, and possibly guide new drug discovery.

Project aims

During this project we will:

  • identify genetic differences between patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and those who are resistant to treatment
  • explore whether these differences can be linked to certain outcomes such as the side effects patients may be likely to develop because of treatment

What we hope to achieve

We hope that this project will help us:

  • understand more about the genetic background of schizophrenia
  • understand more about the effects of certain medications
  • inform and shape the development of new drugs with fewer side effects