The Mood Disorders Research Unit
The mission of the Mood Disorders Research Unit is to improve the remission rate of depressed patients and to get them well faster. This research group is unique in Canada as it encompasses fully integrated fundamental and clinical research units. Directed by Pierre Blier, M.D., Ph.D., a clinician scientist, this model represents the best strategy to bridge the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside, thereby providing an ideal environment to facilitate translational research.
The clinical research unit is responsible for devising research studies aimed at assessing the biochemical and clinical effects of various antidepressants and new molecules in development. The most recent studies were aimed at accelerating and improving the antidepressant response by using combinations of two medications from treatment initiation in comparison to giving only one medication; a technique often employed in other areas of medicine. These combinations, while being very well tolerated, have more than doubled the usual remission rate of standard medications within a six week treatment period, thereby saving time, and attenuating the burden and suffering of patients and families. Finally, the unit offers a consultation service for treatment-resistant patients that integrates an on-going project examining the relationships between brain morphology and genetic factors that may be relevant to the development and treatment of depression. Drs. Bisserbe and Habib are staff psychiatrists working in this research unit, as well as post-doctoral fellows. Ms. Wendy Fusee is the research nurse coordinator in charge of the clinical projects.
This program is supported by peer-reviewed grants from provincial and federal agencies, as well as from investigator-initiated studies sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Blier holds the Canada Research Chair in Psychopharmacology from the Government of Canada.