Reversing the burden of mood disorders
Major depression already carries the largest burden of all diseases in middle- to high-income countries and is expected to increase by 50 per cent by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.
Improved medications can prevent this grim prediction and reverse the burden of this disorder. Although there are effective anti-depressants on the market, remission is only achieved in about a third of patients. Other attempts at treatment are time consuming and are generally not driven by rationale or scientific approaches.
Dr. Pierre Blier, Canada Research Chair in Psychopharmacology, is investigating how current antidepressants act on brain chemicals so that they can be used more effectively in combination with other medications, as is the case for the standard dual or triple therapy approach to asthma or HIV.
Blier is also testing depression at various stages in life in animal models to determine which brain chemicals are altered and how these changes can best be altered by existing and potential anti-depressants to minimize the number of failed trails. He has already used this approach in two clinical studies which resulted in a doubling of remission rates.
Blier’s research will lead to improved medications for the treatment of major depression which result in improved rates of remission.