Cognitive neuroscience treatment research to improve cognition in schizophrenia II: Developing imaging biomarkers to enhance treatment development for schizophrenia and related disorders

Cameron S. Carter, Deanna M. Barch, Edward Bullmore, James Breiling, Robert W. Buchanan, Pamela Butler, Jonathan D. Cohen, Mark Geyer, Randy Gollub, Michael F. Green, Judith Jaeger, John H. Krystal, Holly Moore, Keith Nuechterlein, Trevor Robbins, Steven Silverstein, Edward E. Smith, Milton Strauss, Til Wykes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (CNTRICS) initiative, funded by an R13 from the National Institute of Mental Health, seeks to enhance translational research in treatment development for impaired cognition in schizophrenia by developing tools from cognitive neuroscience into useful measures of treatment effects on behavior and brain function. An initial series of meetings focused on the selection of a new set of tasks from cognitive neuroscience for the measurement of treatment effects on specific cognitive and neural systems. Subsequent validation and optimization studies are underway and a subset of validated measures with well-characterized psychometric properties will be generally available in 2011. This article describes results of the first meeting of the second phase of the Cognitive Neuroscience Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia, which seeks to develop imaging biomarkers and improved animal models to enhance translational research. In this meeting, we considered issues related to the use of methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, and transcranial magnetic simulation as biomarkers for treatment development. We explored the biological nature of the signals measured by each method, their validity and reliability as measures of cognition-related neural activity, potential confounds related to drug effects on the signal of interest, and conceptual, methodological, and pragmatic issues related to their use in preclinical, first into human, and multicenter phase II and III studies. This overview article describes the background and goals of the meeting together with a summary of the major issues discussed in more detail in the accompanying articles appearing in this issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Barch has received grants from the Allon and Novartis .

Funding Information:
Dr. Krystal acknowledges support from US Department of Veterans Affairs Alcohol Research Center, National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Neurosciences Division, West Haven, Connecticut, and Clinical and Translational Science Awards Grant Number UL1 RR024139 from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and National Institutes of Health Roadmap for Medical Research. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of National Center for Research Resources or National Institutes of Health.

Funding Information:
Dr. Silverstein has received research funding from Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

Funding Information:
Dr. Neuchterlein has received research funding from Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs (the new name for Janssen, LP) and served as a consultant to Merck.

Funding Information:
With support from a National Institute of Mental Health funded conference grant, CNTRICS has now begun a second phase of work, with the goal of further enhancing the translation of tools from basic cognitive neuroscience into the treatment development processes. The focus of this second set of meetings and associated online surveys is twofold. The first is to facilitate the development of imaging biomarkers for use in human studies. The second is to facilitate the development of optimized animal model systems that can potentially have stronger predictive value than many current animal paradigms for beneficial effects of novel treatments on cognition in schizophrenia and related disorders. In this issue of Biological Psychiatry, we describe the first of this second series of CNTRICS meetings, in which we addressed conceptual and methodological issues involved in developing imaging biomarkers, as well as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) related physiological measures that can be combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or electroencephalography (EEG) for development of effective treatments for impaired cognition in schizophrenia and related disorders.


  • Biomarker
  • cognition
  • schizophrenia
  • treatment


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