Skating to where the puck is going to be: A plan for clinical trials and translation research in mood disorders

Ellen Frank, A. John Rush, Mary Blehar, Susan Essock, William Hargreaves, Michael Hogan, Robin Jarrett, Robert L. Johnson, Wayne J. Katon, Phillip Lavori, James P. McNulty, George Niederehe, Neal Ryan, Gail Stuart, Stephen B. Thomas, Gary D. Tollefson, Benedetto Vitiello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


As part of the National Institute of Mental Health Strategic Plan for Mood Disorders Research effort, the Clinical Trials and Translation Workgroup was asked to define priorities for clinical trials in mood disorders and for research on how best to translate the results of such research to clinical practice settings. Through two face-to-face meetings and a series of conference calls, we established priorities based on the literature to date and what was known about research currently in progress in this area. We defined five areas of priority that cut across developmental stages, while noting that research on adult mood disorders was at a more advanced stage in each of these areas than research on child or geriatric disorders. The five areas of priority are: 1) maximizing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of initial (acute) treatments for mood disorders already known to be efficacious in selected populations and settings when they are applied across all populations and care settings; 2) learning what further treatments or services are most likely to reduce symptoms and improve functioning when the first treatment is delivered well, but the mood disorder does not remit or show adequate improvement; 3) learning what treatments or services are most cost-effective in preventing recurrence or relapse and maintaining optimal functioning after a patient's mood disorder has remitted or responded maximally to treatment; 4) developing and validating clinical, psychosocial, biological, or other markers that predict: a) which treatments are most effective, b) course of illness, c) risk of adverse events/tolerability and acceptability for individual patients or well-defined subgroups of patients; 5) developing clinical trial designs and methods that result in lower research costs and greater generalizability earlier in the treatment development and testing process. A rationale for the importance of each of these priorities is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-654
Number of pages24
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2002


  • Clinical trials
  • Mood disorders
  • Translation research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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