Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research GELIFES

Prof. Kas partner in EU project on personalizing medication in psychiatry

24 March 2021

As many as two thirds of all psychiatric patients do not respond well to treatment with drugs. While compliance and frequent side effects play a major role, there are also genetic variations which determine whether serious side effects occur, and which can also prevent medication from working. An international consortium, in which Prof. Martien Kas ( GELIFES ) is partner, is to conduct a pharmacogenomic study to establish the relationship between response to treatment and genetic background. The University of Maastricht is coordinator. The research project was recently awarded EUR 8 million in European funding. Kas receives EUR 382,000 for his part in the project.

The international consortium, which apart from Maastricht University also includes the University of Groningen and the mental healthcare provider Parnassia Groep, will use artificial intelligence to map pharmacogenomic characteristics. At the same time, it will conduct a large-scale clinical study among people suffering from depression, psychosis, or anxiety, again using artificial intelligence to create an algorithm to personalise drug prescriptions, thus reducing side effects and increasing efficacy.

Groningen: BEHAPP-app

The research group of Prof. Martien Kas (GELIFES) is involved as a partner in this EU project with their BEHAPP smartphone application for real-world assessments of human behaviour. The BEHAPP app will be implemented in the clinical trial for passive and active patient monitoring in daily psychiatric care in 9 inclusion sites across Europe. Based on the longitudinal collected smartphone data, BEHAPP behavioural endpoint measures will be derived and will be integrated in the project with other quantitative biological measures to develop an implementation strategy of pharmacogenetics-based personalised medicine in psychiatry.

Pharmacogenomics

Due to the chronic and recurring nature of psychiatric disorders, paired with overall increasing life expectancy, the social burden of mental illness will only continue to increase. This development shows the need to make medication in psychiatry more effective. Pharmacogenomics is the field that aims to use a knowledge of variations in human DNA to explain why medicines cause many side effects in some people and/or show little or no efficacy in others. Variations in DNA can lead to differences in the activity of proteins that enable the body to absorb drugs. Although pharmacogenomics is increasingly being applied in the Netherlands, for example in oncology, until now it has hardly been used in psychiatry.

Last modified:25 March 2021 3.07 p.m.

More news

  • 22 March 2021

    Pilot project with rapid testing at the UG, Hanze and Noorderpoort to be expanded

    The rapid testing pilot project in the higher and vocational educational sectors in Groningen will be expanded. Two new locations will be joining the pilot project: one at the Euroborg for Noorderpoort students, and the other in the Wiebenga...

  • 04 March 2021

    Professor Lude Franke awarded Vici grant

    The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded Prof. Lude Franke a Vici grant worth € 1.5 million. The Vici grant will enable him to develop innovative lines of research for the next five years. Vici is one of the largest personal academic grants...

  • 04 February 2021

    Molecule from nature provides fully recyclable polymers

    Plastics are among the most successful materials of modern times. However, they also create a huge waste problem. Scientists from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) and the East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) in...