February 07, 2005

Blood Test for Schizophrenia Diagnosis

The science magazine "New Scientist" reported on February 5, 2005 on a new blood test being developed for the diagnosis of schizophrenia, as reported in a genetics journal (American Journal of Medical Genetics B , vol 133, p 1). It is still early, and this still needs to be validated in larger studies and by other groups, but the initial small sample was positive.

The early results suggest a 95% to 97% accuracy level - which should help a great deal in early diagnosis and potential prevention of serious psychotic episodes.

The story mentioned that:

"A blood test that measures the activity of genes can accurately detect mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, a small trial suggests.

RNA molecules are produced whenever a gene is active and, by measuring levels of these molecules in the blood, a team led by Ming Tsuang, at the University of California in San Diego has distinguished healthy individuals from patients with either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (manic depression).

These conditions are currently diagnosed by assessing patients' behaviour. "A laboratory test would enable earlier diagnosis and more timely treatment," Tsuang says."

The study examined the blood gene expression of 74 patients - 30 with schizophrenia, 16 with bipolar disorder and 28 controls. Eight gene blood biomarkers were identified and used to discriminate amongst the 3 groups, with an overall accuracy of 95% to 97%. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Ming T. Tsuang, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, and Director, Institute of Behavioral Genomics, Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and Director, Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Harvard Department of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, Harvard University and Dr. C.C. Liew, ChondroGene's Chief Scientist, Visiting Professor and Founder of The Cardiovascular Genome Unit at The Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Professor Emeritus at The University of Toronto, and was responsible for conceiving the Sentinel Principle.

The data presented in the paper is a result of an initial collaborative research project between ChondroGene and Dr. Tsuang in which the Sentinel Principle was applied to these two psychiatric disorders. Additional studies to further validate disease-specific biomarkers in larger psychiatric populations are ongoing.

"At present there are no tests that can effectively diagnose psychiatric disorders early in their evolution. Using current methods, it can take months or even years to make a definitive diagnosis", stated Dr. K. Wayne Marshall, President and CEO of ChondroGene Limited. "Application of ChondroGene's Sentinel Principle to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder has generated unique blood-based molecular signatures for each disease. These molecular signatures can be used to develop disease-specific biomarkers that will enable earlier diagnosis and more timely treatment of these devastating disorders."

Rory Riggs, ChondroGene's Chairman and Managing Director of Balfour LLC, stated that "the Sentinel Principle is an extremely powerful tool that can provide a snapshot of what is happening throughout the body from a simple blood sample. So far ChondroGene has applied the Sentinel Principle to over 50 different diseases with very promising results."

The Sentinel Principle is used to identify unique molecular signatures in blood associated with a specific disease. These molecular signatures are then used to identify blood-based biomarkers that can be used for disease- specific diagnostic tests. ChondroGene is applying the Sentinel Principle in four main disease areas; cancer, central nervous system disorders, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. The Company currently works with research collaborators and organizations around the world in these various disease areas.

New Scientist magazine mentioned that "Peter Liddle, co-director of the Nottingham Institute of Neuroscience in the UK, warns that the similarities in gene expression in patients could be a coincidence or the result of their medication. Tsuang is already carrying out a second, larger study and hopes to start a third with patients not on medication, to rule out possible effects of prescription drugs on gene expression."

A paper entitled "Assessing the Validity of Blood- Based Gene Expression Profiles for the Classification of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: A preliminary Report" is available online on the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics' website at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/109865056/ABSTRACT

The work is in part sponsored by a company called "ChrondroGene". ChondroGene is focussed on the application of functional genomics to enable early diagnosis and personalized therapeutic intervention based on disease-specific biomarkers. The Company has developed a novel approach, based on the Sentinel Principle, to detect and stage virtually any disease or medical condition from a simple blood sample. ChondroGene is currently applying the Sentinel Principle in major areas with unmet clinical needs such as cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. For more information on ChondroGene, visit http://www.chondrogene.com

Also - an earlier story from a few years ago on a similar approach to blood tests for schizophrenia.


I am having very bad tremors. I am schizoeffective. I take lithium, serequell, and clonazapam for my disabilities. I'm afraid I may have parkensons disease. I have uncontrolable movements. Can any of these meds. cause neurological problems? I haven't got any results back yet. I also had a form of epilepsy when I was 12 years old, and took dilantin for 6 months, and now, am 45. So I can't say what is wrong, and wondered if I could get some feedback. When they took blood, another person had to hold my arm down, to keep it from moving. I had an aunt that had PD. I take thyroid meds. from result of cancer that lead to thyroid removal, and 1 parathyroid. Premerin is taken for hysterectomy. I had beed taking welbutrin, and commit losanges, and a inhaler to open my brocheole tubes. It started 2 years ago when I had fine hand tremors. I told the Dr. and he didn't think it was a problem. It only affected my right hand. Now it it affecting my whole body. They are jerky movements. And to end, I took some cocaine 2 or 3 different days. What ever kind of cut they put in the coke would numb your esophogus and you had problems swallowing. I think that that coke may have triggered a problem in my system. It made everything feel tingley right to the CNS. I need some input to give me some kind of Idea, and in order to calm my worst fears, or lay it all in fron of me so I can look at things for what they really are. My family just keeps putting me down and saying negative things about me. I really don't think they'd care if I was dead. I'm serious. I have desided to keep things to myself. Everyone is out for their selves feeloing their aches and pains. The doc. is the only place I get comfort. And all medical staff. PLEASE HELP!
Cheryl Keel

Posted by: cheryl Keel at May 24, 2005 02:27 AM

i think that this is the greatest page. becasue it gives more information and if i can help i think that seeing a threapist is a great thing to do find a family doctor so they can help you out with this problems here.

Posted by: sunlight her at June 2, 2005 06:36 PM

I have been Diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder. I started treatment 11/2 years ago thru my local Dr. After a year I had to go into the hospital to get my meds straightened out and to be officially Diagnosed. Now they are thinking that I might be Schizophrenic. I would really like to be able to get one of these Blood tests done. I know the Dr's in the article are still testing but could there be any other Dr's or University's around North Carolina that can perform these tests. I would REALLY be willing to let them do the testing on me (whether they had to take me off the medicine to perform the test or not). Thank you for your time.

Tonda Coleman

Posted by: Tonda Coleman at July 18, 2005 06:57 PM

I am the mother of a 15 year old son. Since he was 12, his IQ has dropped from 130 to 113 and he is having many problems with school and home. The professionals working with him keep giving us conflicting diagnosis such as one saying OCD and ADHD and another saying BiPolar Disorder. Medications come and go with very little change in his behavior or symptoms. It would be so helpful to have a test that would define his condition rather than dealing with people who have only a snapshot interview with him and give him a label. I would be willing to drive him from Pennsylvania to wherever we would have to go for this test. Please advise me if that would be possible. Thanks so much for your time and answer.

Posted by: Elizabeth Swartz at October 29, 2005 11:59 AM

To: Ms. Swartz,
Re: Asperger's,
Asperger's is often misdiagnosed (as those you have indicated), and can cause problems similar the ones you have described, [although this does not make it vaild (I am by no means an expert), but it is another option which may result in better a diagnosis].

Posted by: undisclosed at November 8, 2005 06:20 AM

My husband has been using drugs for the past couple of years. I didn't know until I noticed he was losing weight, he's been having eratic behaviours, stealing money and jewellery from me, using a lot of narcotics, sleeping pills and perhaps other drugs, sleeping a lot than usual, socially withdrawn from family and friends but keeps friends that are bad influence, and not working. I've been supporting the family and paying the bills and now I'm financially in trouble. My husband finally started working but our credit cards are over limit because of his use of drugs. I'll probably be paying for it for the rest of my life. What can I do to help him? He has changed and I fear he may be suffering from illness due to subtance abuse. I was also told that subtance abuse can lead to schizophrenia in the long term. Please give me some advice.

Posted by: vimmi at December 5, 2005 04:03 PM

being a medical care giver,i certainly found all the above very informative ,and hope that the future will bring mor-expression- of curative forms...very promising,many,manythanks, sincerely, marie weinrauch

Posted by: marie weinrauch at March 28, 2006 10:29 AM

My husband is in the hospital
now for a drug over dose, he was trying to commit suicide he had cocaine and alcohol in his system to. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,years ago well he pulled out of the over dose but he has pneumonia. HE still can't talk well and is having hallucination's he clams to see bugs, people that are not there. I just would like to know his chances of recovery, and the proper treatment for him. please help me if you can, this makes his 25th attempt of suicide.

Posted by: Elizabeth C at October 19, 2007 10:15 PM

My husband is in the hospital
now for a drug over dose, he was trying to commit suicide he had cocaine and alcohol in his system to. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,years ago well he pulled out of the over dose but he has pneumonia. HE still can't talk well and is having hallucination's he clams to see bugs, people that are not there. I just would like to know his chances of recovery, and the proper treatment for him. please help me if you can, this makes his 25th attempt of suicide.

Posted by: Elizabeth C at October 19, 2007 10:19 PM

i would like to know whether , Schizophrenia, /mental disorder disease can be proved through any kind of test . if yes kindly let me know wat kind a test ??whether this can be proved by normal IQ test /Blood test by phscatriest ? and what is the treatment for the same ... kindly revert back

Posted by: rahul at December 10, 2007 11:18 PM

what if blood of Schizophrenia person is injected/gets to normal person. will the normal person gets to Schizophrenia?

Posted by: Raghavendra at February 6, 2008 10:54 PM

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