Internationally Recognized Cancer Researcher Shifts Focus to Schizophrenia
Dr. John Roder, an internally recognized cancer researcher, known for his work on "killer cells" has focused his research on the subject of schizophrenia following the diagnosis of his son, Nathan in 2001. In a paper released today in the journal, Neuron, Dr. Roder and his team of Canadian and Scottish research scientists, identified one of the elusive genetic causes of schizophrenia. In their research, a malfunctioning gene was found to be related to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. While the research, at this stage, does not point to a cure, it does help us think about the diagnosis and ultimately how we treat the disease. Dr. Roder's skills in genetic analysis honed in his years as a cancer researcher offer a fresh view to mental health research which may better help to define the causes and treatment of serious mental illness.
Dr. Roder, who is associated with the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, left the well funded world of cancer research upon learning of his his son's diagnosis. Dr. Roder commented: "The only thing I could do was change my research focus. I thought I could make a difference." Maria Roder, Nathan's mother, has also focused her energies on advocacy and public awareness work to further assist her family and others in coping with the problems associated with serious mental health diseases.
Dr. Roder said that "research in mental health is where cancer was thirty years ago." Dr. Roder, his wife and son are doing much to further the understanding of serious mental health problems on many levels.