The primary goal of Berlin Psychosis Study is to follow up genetic risk variants of schizophrenia identified by Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS). Previous large-scale genetic studies lack the possibility to recall patients for deeper phenotyping, which limits the opportunity to explore the functional impact of cumulative genetic risk on brain and behavior. To tackle this issue, we are persuing a two-step recruitment approach:
In the first phase, 2,500 patients and controls will be recruited respectively from German-, Turkish-, Russian- and Vietnamese-speaking populations prevalent in Berlin and surrounding regions. This will yield both a new cohort for prospective Schizophrenia-GWAS conducted by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and a large enough sample to invite a representative subset of patients and controls for follow-up testings (phase II). Previous studies suggest that we shall expect approximately 10 new genome-wide significant genetic associations, information that are helpful in search of new therapeutic opportunities to broaden the spectrum of treatment options and improve their efficacy.
This innovative study design offers the possibility for more targeted phenotyping. Such a design has the potential to overcome the scientific limitations of both phases individually, bridging the gap between GWAS results and their application in pharmacotherapy.
Organization and collection of the Berlin Psychosis Sample takes place in cooperation with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
Project is supported by Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.