120 million people worldwide suffer from depression. An EU-funded research project launched recently will help to uncover the genetic factors linked to depression to develop new drug treatments. The Integrated Project, named NEWMOOD, has received €7.2 million in funding from the EU’s Sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6) and aims to identify genes involved in triggering depression. This will help researchers to develop new drugs over the next five years to treat it and improve understanding of its causes. The drugs are set to revolutionise antidepressant drugs, which have not changed much over the past 30 years. The project, co-ordinated by the University of Manchester (United Kingdom) involves partners from 13 laboratories in 10 European countries including Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Spain.
“Depression is a widespread issue and represents a serious health problem in Europe. Everybody can feel sad. But depression is a severe and long-term problem where people feel hopeless and their professional and private life is hampered,” says European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. “Traditional drugs mainly target brain chemicals, and are only partially effective. By looking into the genetics of depression EU researchers can go to the very roots of the illness, and help prevent and cure it in innovative ways. European scientists working together can make a difference and achieve a quantum leap in the fight against depression”.
Fabio Fabbi | EU Commission
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