Bobana Samardžija, mag. pharm. inv.: Our Research Holds Implications for the Future Diagnostics & Therapeutics

Bobana Samardžija, mag. pharm. inv. Our Research Holds Implications for the Future Diagnostics & Therapeutics
Bobana Samardžija, mag. pharm. inv.
Chronic mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, are widespread and serious conditions that profoundly affect the lives of millions worldwide. Despite their prevalence, our comprehension of these disorders remains incomplete, and current therapeutic strategies often merely alleviate symptoms rather than target root causes. While extensive research has identified numerous genes associated with schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, their individual impacts tend to be marginal or specific to particular groups, underscoring the substantial influence of environmental factors alongside genetic predispositions.
Innovative approaches to unravel the complexities of these disorders are emerging, with a particular focus on disruptions in protein balance within the brain. This novel perspective draws inspiration from the realm of neurodegenerative diseases, where the accumulation of toxic protein aggregates significantly contributes to pathology.
At the University of Rijeka in Croatia, we examine post-mortem brain samples from individuals diagnosed with depression, Alzheimer's disease, those who have tragically died by suicide, as well as control subjects. We aim to elucidate the patterns of protein aggregation across diverse brain regions. Furthermore, we are investigating the possibility of multiple proteins aggregating together within the same individual and assess protein aggregation in cell cultures, all in hope to shed light on the intricate mechanisms underlying chronic mental illnesses.
Complementing these endeavors, we are also pioneering efforts to analyze aggregating proteins in blood samples obtained from living patients diagnosed with these challenging conditions, aiming to establish a non-invasive diagnostic tool that could revolutionize clinical practice.
By venturing beyond the genetic determinants, our research holds implications for the future of diagnostic methodologies and therapeutic interventions targeting chronic mental illnesses. This perspective empowers us to chart new paths towards understanding and addressing the multifaceted nature of these disorders, ultimately fostering hope for enhanced outcomes and improved quality of life for patients and their families.
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