Schizophrenia, which affects approximately 20 million people worldwide, is one of the best-known yet least-understood brain disorders.
Symptoms often emerge during the teenage years or early adulthood, but this serious mental disorder is usually not diagnosed until psychosis occurs, which may be several years later. Diagnosing and treating schizophrenia sooner could help young people struggling with its early symptoms and potentially delay or stop disease progression.
The FNIH’s Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Schizophrenia (AMP SCZ), launched in September 2020, aims to identify early indicators of the disease, which will allow researchers to test new treatments that could diagnose and help patients in its initial stages. This five-year, $99 million project brings together nine partners, including government agencies, industry, private foundations and patient-centered not-for-profit organizations, to collaborate in this critical work. Together, the partners are:
- Establishing two research networks connecting over 40 U.S. and international sites working with individuals at high risk, allowing improved coordination and enhancing applicability of results to global populations
- Supporting rapid analysis and dissemination of data through a state-of-the-science data processing center and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Data Archive, allowing the broader biomedical research community open access and extending the reach and impact of the work
AMP SCZ is the fifth Accelerating Medicines Partnership initiative, and the first to focus on a neuropsychiatric disorder. These trailblazing partnerships transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and treatments by bringing together the resources of NIH and industry to improve our understanding of disease pathways and facilitate better selection of targets for treatment. Other AMP initiatives are working to speed the development of new diagnostics and treatments for Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis/lupus and Parkinson's disease.