Stratification of response to treatment in schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a debilitating disorder characterized by positive, negative and cognitive symptoms.
Affecting approximately 1% of the population worldwide, schizophrenia places significant burden on society
through direct healthcare costs and indirect costs associated with loss of productivity (1-2).
Schizophrenia is treated with antipsychotic medications but there is a high level of inter-individual variability
in treatment efficacy and adverse events (3). In fact, only 50% of patients respond to initial treatment with
antipsychotic medications and clinicians rely on a trial and error approach to determine the most effective
treatment for a particular individual.
There is growing evidence that inflammation is implicated in the aetiology of schizophrenia and that
circulating cytokine levels are predictive of treatment response (4-6). Genetic and epigenetic variation may
also play a role in determining antipsychotic response, including changes in genes with known immune
The goal of this PhD project is to stratify patients based on their response to treatment to determine
whether there are clinical, genetic/epigenetic and inflammatory profiles that are associated with treatment
outcome, and whether these profiles can be used to predict treatment response at the time of diagnosis.