Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses
Chronic mental illnesses (CMI) like schizophrenia or the recurrent affective disorders are among the most debilitating (prevalence 1-10%) and costly diseases in the Western world. Tragically, the early onset of CMI in adolescence leads to in most cases to lifelong impairments and occupational disability. Yet, even though CMI have dramatic negative impact on individual patients, their relatives, and society, our biological understanding and options for novel strategies of efficient treatment to cure CMI are stalling.
The last decade has brought breakthroughs in the genetics of CMI, like the discovery of the disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene, and many others. The identification of these candidate genes now allows analysis of the INter- and intracellular Signalling INSchizophrenia (hence the project acronym IN-SENS). In particular, the extended DISC1 pathway emerges as a converging point of signaling events relevant for CMI. Therefore, the detailed interdisciplinary analysis of this pathway could be a molecular Rosetta stone in deciphering the molecular foundations of behavior. Backed by this momentum, it is of importance to gain new perspectives on CMI and to fund this interdisciplinary Marie Curie Initial Training Network focussing on the molecular and cellular basis of CMI.