You have reached the website of “SZ_TEST: Academia and Industry Collaboration for Schizophrenia”, an international project focused on developing molecular diagnostics tools for early detection of schizophrenia. SZ_TEST is a Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) project supported by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme for four years begining from January 2017.
This project has received funding under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 734791.
The SZ_TEST project will foster advances in Diagnostics of Early Psyhcosis (Schizophrenia) through a collaboration between 9 partners.
The chronic nature and the high degree of patient disability make schizophrenia the fourth leading cause of disease burden across the globe with the management costs making up ~3% of the total healthcare budget in Western countries. Unfortunately, poorly understood aetiology and limited diagnostic arsenal make it difficult to detect and treat schizophrenia in a timely and efficient manner.
This underscores a critical need for better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this disease and development of new diagnostic possibilities allowing its early detection, ideally prior to the onset of psychosis. The overarching hypothesis underlying our work is that genetic vulnerabilities, neurodevelopmental defects, exposure to pathogens, immune system status and specific lifestyle choices may compound the risk of schizophrenia and that a systematic multivariate analysis of these factors should result in substantially improved diagnostic tools.
SZ_TEST will address this challenge through focused research activities and translational training aimed to complement existing know-how with new skills and share knowledge between partners. The consortium also plans to organize a series of networking activities such as workshops and conferences.
The research program of SZ_TEST will include three interrelated lines of research::
1: Deciphering molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia.
2: Identifying molecular biomarkers for early detection of schizophrenia.
3: Developing reliable protocols for diagnostic use of newly identified biomarkers in clinical settings.
Kick-off meeting in February 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia
Protobios hosted the SZ_TEST kick-off meeting on the 21st of February 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. The meeting served to bring all partners together and officially launch the project. During this meeting, the partners introduced themselves to the consortium and jointly discussed results obtained thus far as well as plans for the future. Furthermore, the strategy for implementing project activities for the next 12 months was agreed on. Subdomain: public weblog
a) SZ management: today’s clinical need, emerging opportunities
b) Advanced technologies in delineating molecular mechanisms of SZ
August 29-30, 2017
Scizophrenia: today’s clinical need, emerging opportunities
SZtest mini-symposium organised by Protobios and King’s College London took place at 16th March 2018 in Tallinn Tehnopol. The participants from Tallinn, Tartu and London held overview of their projects on gene expression in health and disease.
The meeting was organised by Protobios and the University of Helsinki at 21st of September 2018 in Biomedicum Helsinki. It was an information section on the Marie-Curie Actions (MSCA) 2019 call for proposals for the Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE).
RISE funds short-term exchanges for staff to develop careers combining scientific excellence with exposure to other countries and sectors. RISE enables more interaction between academia and non-academic organisations within Europe and worldwide.
The project leading to this application has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 734791.
In October 2018 the laboratories of Protobios were visited by leading Multiple sclerosis practicing MD and principal investigator from the University of Helsinki Prof Pentti Tienari and his lab technician Lilja Jansson. The visit was performed within the SZTest project. Our honourable guests shared their knowledge in field of neuro-immunology and introduced relevant advanced methods.
Select references of partners associated with the project application:
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Karis K, Eskla KL, Kaare M, Täht K, Tuusov J, Visnapuu T, Innos J, Jayaram M, Timmusk T, Weickert CS, Väli M, Vasar E, Philips MA. Altered Expression Profile of IgLON Family of Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules in the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex of Schizophrenic Patients. Front Mol Neurosci. 2018 Jan 29;11:8. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00008. eCollection 2018.
Kriisa K, Leppik L, Balõtšev R, Ottas A, Soomets U, Koido K, Volke V, Innos J, Haring L, Vasar E, Zilmer M. Profiling of Acylcarnitines in First Episode Psychosis before and after Antipsychotic Treatment. J Proteome Res. 2017 Oct 6;16(10):3558-3566. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.7b00279. Epub 2017 Aug 24.
Balõtšev R, Haring L, Koido K, Leping V, Kriisa K, Zilmer M, Vasar V, Piir A, Lang A, Vasar E. Antipsychotic treatment is associated with inflammatory and metabolic biomarkers alterations among first-episode psychosis patients: A 7-month follow-up study. Early Interv Psychiatry. 2019 Feb;13(1):101-109. doi: 10.1111/eip.12457. Epub 2017 Jul 18.
Haring L, Mõttus R, Kajalaid K, Koch K, Uppin K, Maron E, Vasar E. The course of cognitive functioning after first-episode of psychosis: A six month follow-up study. Schizophr Res. 2017 Apr;182:31-41. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2016.10.017. Epub 2016 Oct 13.
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Haring L, Müürsepp A, Mõttus R, Ilves P, Koch K, Uppin K, Tarnovskaja J, Maron E, Zharkovsky A, Vasar E, Vasar V. Cortical thickness and surface area correlates with cognitive dysfunction among first-episode psychosis patients. Psychol Med. 2016 Jul;46(10):2145-55. doi: 10.1017/S0033291716000684.
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