July 5, 2007 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has received one of the largest gifts in its history from Theodore and Vada Stanley to establish the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Genomics on its Long Island campus. The goal of the Center is to unambiguously diagnose patients with psychiatric disorders based on their DNA sequence in 10 years time.
Identifying the entire set of schizophrenia- and bipolar-associated genes is crucial for early diagnosis and prognosis, and may establish a path forward for prevention or treatment of disease progression. The Center will leverage a powerful database built by CSHL and available to clinicians for analysis of the symptoms of psychiatric disorders. “This new gift from the Stanleys will further strengthen CSHL’s neuroscience program and help us find the genes related to these disorders so that proper diagnosis and effective treatments can be pursued,” said CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D.
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder affect approximately 1-2% of the population. The causes of these disorders are complex but the greatest contributing factor is the alteration in the DNA sequence of genes. For such complex psychiatric disorders, where it appears that rare gene variants might be involved, researchers must study as many patients as possible at the level of the individual base pairs of DNA.
The new Center at CSHL will allow world-renowned geneticists and molecular biologists to apply the most powerful technology and to access appropriately selected DNA samples. “We are confident that our investment in CSHL’s mission oriented research will yield results that will improve the lives of so many who are impacted by these psychiatric disorders,” said Theodore R. Stanley.
“At this exciting time for biomedical science, I am most passionate about the potential of breakthroughs in neuroscience research,” said CSHL Chancellor James D. Watson, Ph.D. “At CSHL we are already making significant strides in understanding autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. We share the Stanley’s commitment to use DNA to properly diagnose psychiatric disorders so that patients can be treated safely and effectively.”
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