Feinstein Institutes Researchers Help Lead $52M Study of Schizophrenia in High-Risk Youth

Nov. 16, 2020 15:38 UTC

MANHASSET, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Researchers from The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and two other institutions have been awarded a $52 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to lead an international study to understand the trajectory toward schizophrenia in high-risk youth. The Feinstein Institutes will receive $3 million of the NIMH award to help recognize the biological and psychosocial factors contributing to the evolution of psychosis.

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Dr. John Kane, director of the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Behavioral Science. (Credit: The Feinstein Institutes)

Dr. John Kane, director of the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Behavioral Science. (Credit: The Feinstein Institutes)

The multi-year study will be led by John Kane, MD, director of the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Behavioral Science, along with Scott Woods, MD, professor of psychiatry at Yale University, and Carrie Bearden, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“To understand the course of schizophrenia in young people is the key to early diagnosis, intervention, personalized therapies and better outcomes,” said Dr. Kane, who is also chairman of psychiatry at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and renowned expert in the field of schizophrenia research. “We are grateful to NIMH for their support, and we are optimistic that this collaborative international team of experts will produce valuable new knowledge in treating schizophrenia.”

The grant will fund the development of the Psychosis Risk Outcomes Network (ProNET), involving 26 institutions across eight countries – including Northwell Health’s Zucker Hillside Hospital. Barbara Cornblatt, PhD, professor at the Feinstein Institutes and one of the project’s senior investigators, has been funded by NIMH for her pioneering research in the area of clinical high risk (CHR) youth for more than two decades.

“Because ProNET will bring together multiple levels of expertise, we will have the most inclusive international sample of patient data in the clinical high risk field,” said Dr. Cornblatt, who is also a professor of psychiatry at the Zucker School of Medicine. “This project holds the promise of detecting the true biomarkers of schizophrenia, which will lead to new prevention and intervention strategies.”

Schizophrenia has been long recognized as a major public health challenge, and research with CHR has increasingly been considered the way to overcome that challenge. Investigators will recruit 1,040 patients with CHR and follow them with clinical and biomarker assessments – evaluating brain structure and function with MRI and EEG, psychopathology and cognition, genetics, behavior and language, and speech over two years.

At the start of the study, 236 healthy controls will also be assessed. In conjunction with a Data Processing, Analysis, and Coordinating Center at Harvard, a network centered in Australia, and an additional public-private partnership that will include companies from the pharmaceutical industry, ProNET will evaluate whether these biomarkers can be used to predict individual clinical trajectories and to select those patients most likely to benefit from specific current or newly developed treatments.

“Dr. Kane is internationally recognized as a pioneer in schizophrenia and behavioral science,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes. “The support of the NIMH and other leading researchers from around the globe will shed important new light on intervention methods and therapy for schizophrenia.”

About the Feinstein Institutes

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York State. Home to 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes raises the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We make breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and are the global scientific leader in bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we produce knowledge to cure disease, visit http://feinstein.northwell.edu and follow us on LinkedIn.

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Matthew Libassi


Source: Northwell Health

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Dr. John Kane, director of the Feinstein Institutes’ Institute of Behavioral Science. (Credit: The Feinstein Institutes)

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