The discovery and clinical application of biomarkers for mental disorders is faced with many challenges. In general, the current methods for discovery and validation of biomarkers have not produced the results which were first anticipated after completion of the human genome project. This is mostly due to the lack of a standardized pipeline connecting marker discovery with technologies for validation and translation to a platform that offers accuracy and ease of use in a clinical setting. As a consequence, most psychiatrists and general practitioners are still reluctant to accept that biomarker tests can supplement or replace the long standing interview-based methods for diagnosis. Despite this, the regulatory agencies now agree that improvements over the current methods are essential. Furthermore, these agencies stipulate that biomarkers are important for future drug development and have initiated efforts to modernize methods and techniques to support these efforts. Here, we review the challenges faced by this endeavour from the point of view of psychiatrists, general practitioners, the regulatory agencies and biomarker scientists. We also describe the development of a novel molecular blood-test for schizophrenia as a first promising step towards achieving this goal.

Biomarkers, Diagnosis, Psychiatric disorders, Regulatory authorities, Schizophrenia
Revista de Psiquiatria Clinica
Department of Neuroscience

Bahn, S, Schwarz, E, Harris, L.W, Martins-de-Souza, D, Rahmoune, H, & Guest, P.C. (2013). Biomarker blood tests for diagnosis and management of mental disorders: Focus on schizophrenia. Revista de Psiquiatria Clinica (Vol. 40, pp. 2–9). Retrieved from