Biomarkers for psychiatry: The journey from fantasy to fact, a report of the 2013 CINP think tank

Elizabeth Scarr*, Mark J. Millan, Sabine Bahn, Alessandro Bertolino, Christoph W. Turck, Shitij Kapur, Hans Jürgen Möller, Brian Dean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)
199 Downloads (Pure)


Background: A think tank sponsored by the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologium (CINP) debated the status and prospects of biological markers for psychiatric disorders, focusing on schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Methods: Discussions covered markers defining and predicting specific disorders or domains of dysfunction, as well as predicting and monitoring medication efficacy. Deliberations included clinically useful and viable biomarkers, why suitable markers are not available, and the need for tightly-controlled sample collection. Results: Different types of biomarkers, appropriate sensitivity, specificity, and broad-based exploitability were discussed. Whilst a number of candidates are in the discovery phases, all will require replication in larger, real-life cohorts. Clinical costeffectiveness also needs to be established. Conclusions: Since a single measure is unlikely to suffice, multi-modal strategies look more promising, although they bring greater technical and implementation complexities. Identifying reproducible, robust biomarkers will probably require precompetitive consortia to provide the resources needed to identify, validate, and develop the relevant clinical tests.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number10
Early online date21 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Animal studies
  • Biomarkers
  • Clinical samples
  • Imaging
  • Psychiatric disorders


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