Time for New Schizophrenia Rx

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Science  14 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6176, pp. 1177
DOI: 10.1126/science.1252603

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Last month, the battle against four major diseases received some good news. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and 10 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies decided that instead of working ineffectively in silos, they would work together to discover therapies for Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. This initiative—the Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP)—recognizes that progress toward new therapies for common chronic diseases increasingly requires large-scale collaborative efforts that range from the need to grapple with heterogeneous polygenic disease phenotypes to the validation of biomarkers in large populations. What is disappointing is that, at least for the time being, the consortium dropped schizophrenia from its list, despite vast unmet medical need and substantial, albeit still recent, scientific advances. Was schizophrenia deemed too risky to pursue? If innovative partnerships such as the AMP are not willing to take on common and serious but otherwise neglected disorders such as schizophrenia, then the scientific community will have to find new ways of pooling intellectual and financial resources to address them.