Predicting depression treatment response

May 18, 2012

A collaboration between the University of Michigan Depression Center and three other institutions will investigate how biomarkers can be used to predict how those with depression will respond to treatment.

Led by the University of Texas, Southwestern, the study will examine various biological markers through brain imaging and other blood, DNA, hormonal, chemical, cognitive and behavioral tests.

Along with U-M — where the principal investigator is Melvin McInnis, M.D., the Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression — and UT Southwestern, researchers from Columbia University and Massachusetts General Hospital will also collaborate on the trial.

The goal is to help doctors better understand which treatments will work best for each patient, based on his or her personalized biological signature. Participants in the study will either be randomly assigned to either a placebo pill or a widely used antidepressant, and the differences in their symptoms will be tracked.

“This strategy will allow investigators to discover biomarkers that predict improvement with a specific antidepressant, but also could uncover whether those who respond strongly to placebo have a unique biological makeup that itself warrants research,” writes Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., professor and vice chair at Columbia University and Huffington Post contributor.

For information about this and other research at U-M, visit UMClinicalStudies.org, or the study website, or read the full Huffington Post article.