Thursday, September 27, 2007

On Your NeuroMark, Get Set...'s not set to GO yet!

Oops, it seems that someone [The Lane Communications Group??] jumped the gun in submitting this press release for publication, because the company's website isn't ready yet:

We are very sorry to inconvenience you. However, the informational site we are preparing for the Mark-C test for predicting risk for suicidal ideation when taking Citalopram is scheduled to be available on October 1st.

The availability of our test was to be announced October 1st to the national media. However, through an inadvertent technical error, the American Journal of Psychiatry publication was published online October 27th [sic], ahead of the October 1st embargoed date.

We are working diligently to make our site available to you as quickly as we can....

Their product? It's REALLY a big deal, if it turns out to be true:
Genetic test announced for suicidal ideation in patients using antidepressant drugs
Safer prescribing anticipated

Boulder, CO, October 1, 2007 – NeuroMark, a Boulder, Colorado company, announced today the immediate availability of a genetic test to identify people at risk of suicidal ideation—thoughts of committing suicide—when prescribed an antidepressant drug. The test, called the Mark-C™ test, is expected to help restore public confidence in antidepressant medication and help to reduce a recently announced spike in suicide rates among U.S. youth. “This is an exciting example of the power of genetics to address a critical need and make important drugs safer for patients worldwide,” stated Kim Bechthold, NeuroMark’s CEO.

In September 2007, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announced that in 2004 there was a 8% rise in suicide rates among 10-19 year olds, the year that the FDA issued public health warnings linking antidepressant drugs with suicidal ideation and behavior. "The largest percentage increase in rates from 2003 to 2004 was among females aged 10—14 (75.9%), followed by females aged 15—19 years (32.3%) and males aged 15—19 years (9%)," according to the CDC.

In a statement, the company said, “We feel a sense of responsibility, given the current climate, to provide the test to physicians immediately so that they may identify patients who would benefit from closer monitoring or even a change in therapy. It is our hope that this early test will encourage more people to consider antidepressant drug treatment who would benefit from it."

"Before the NeuroMark test, we couldn’t differentiate between the subset of patients who were at risk of suicidal ideation and those who could more safely take an antidepressant drug," stated NeuroMark president Dr. Peter Tolias. “The Mark-C test is highly predictive and identifies citalopram-treated patients who are at high risk for suicidal ideation. The test also identifies people at low risk, giving the physician more confidence in prescribing citalopram," he added.
Here's the relevant citation in the American Journal of Psychiatry:

Gonzalo Laje, Silvia Paddock, Husseini Manji, A. John Rush, Alexander F. Wilson, Dennis Charney, and Francis J. McMahon (2007). Genetic Markers of Suicidal Ideation Emerging During Citalopram Treatment of Major Depression. Am J Psychiatry 164:1530-1538.

Yesterday, World of Psychology had a post about this paper:
Suicidal Genes Discovered
By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
September 26th, 2007

The Oct. 1 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry will release both a study and editorial suggesting that a set of suicidal gene markers have been discovered. That is, people with these markers have a higher incidence of suicidal thinking (which is often the precursor to suicidal action). This is a significant finding, since there has been little previous evidence that suicidal thoughts or behaviors might be coded all the way down into our genes.

. . .

Rumor has it that a company will also be marketing a genetic test kit for this set of “suicide markers.”

Why yes, that rumor appears to be true.

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