Platform for Personalized Medicine and Companion Diagnosis of Cannabis-Based Therapies

Citri Ami, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences

The Citri Lab at the Hebrew University is developing a technology for quantitative psychiatry, relevant to the parsing of treatment modalities to patient populations.

Diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders is notoriously dependent on the subjective approach of the physician, based largely on the patient report of symptoms. There is a great need for personalized and quantitative diagnostic tools in psychiatry, with the greatest need being in defining the effectiveness of the treatment, both objectively and quantitatively.

The recent developments in cannabis-based therapeutics have opened up a new potential arsenal of therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. The success of this burgeoning field, however, is largely dependent on ensuring that the appropriate allocation of treatment matches relevant patient population. By definition then, the companion diagnoses must also be diagnosed correctly.  Only with the correct diagnoses of the problem, can we ensure that the appropriate treatments are reaching the designated population.

In recent work from the Citri Lab, we  have identified gene expression signatures in the brains of mice, enabling the decoding of the recent experience of mice with >90% efficacy (https://elifesciences.org/articles/31220; some relevant explanatory literature: eLife; New scientist). We have observed that expression signatures correlating with recent experiences also appear in the blood, and we propose their further development as diagnostic tools for quantitative psychiatry, specifically in the context of companion diagnostics for evaluating potential responding populations that can be with cannabis-based therapeutics.