Professor David Porteous predicts that gene medicines such as gene therapy will improve the effectiveness of treating psychiatric disorders.
I use the phrase 'gene medicine' to refer to medicines that are developed through gene knowledge. They come in lots of different forms. A classic form, if you like, is gene therapy where you actually use the gene itself as a form of therapeutic to manufacture a damaged protein that an individual may be lacking. But more broadly, and I think more relevant to the area of schizophrenia, is the idea of using gene knowledge to make more rational forms of treatment. Now just take the example of having identified a gene a risk factor in schizophrenia and that risk factor turns out to have something to do with the way in which we receive signals in the brain and that process is disordered. If we can understand that basis of that, we can start making much more finely tuned pharmaceuticals than we currently use and ones with far fewer side effects, which is one of the biggest problems in this area. So reducing side effects and improving the effectiveness of treatments is something which I believe will come out of gene knowledge.
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Professor David Porteous reflects upon the achievement of finding candidate genes for schizophrenia and has high hopes for the future.
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