Issue #6 - Summer 2018
Depression Grand Challenge Newsletter
Overview:

The Depression Grand Challenge is working to cut the burden of depression in half by 2050 and eliminate it by the end of the century. At its core, the Depression Grand Challenge is driven by UCLA's conviction that new approaches are needed to prevent, diagnose, and treat depression. As newsletter subscribers know, we have organized our approach to this effort into four components - 100K Study, Innovative Treatment Network, Discovery Neuroscience, and Awareness and Hope. This newsletter highlights the Human Studies Projects, which cross both the Innovative Treatment Network and 100K Study components.
Connecting the Dots

Research studies involving human participants will fit together like a puzzle to reveal new insights about how to prevent, diagnose, and treat depression. These interdisciplinary research projects operate as a collaborative research consortium, with all study leaders working in parallel to communicate and implement research objectives. This interdisciplinary consortium approach to these types of research studies is distinct from previous efforts globally.  Utilizing this approach has many benefits, including increasing the efficiency and scalability of study operations, verifying scalable protocols to enhance current research techniques, and allowing for a greater coordination and responsiveness among consortium members to both researcher and patient needs. 
Impact of Human Studies on the Depression Grand Challenge

The Human Studies Projects are providing the Depression Grand Challenge with pathways for developing and implementing diagnosis, treatment, and preventive treatment strategies. Right now, the Human Studies Projects are being operated as demonstration projects to  test the feasibility and potentially refine the design of the projects in order to position the 100K Study and the ITN for further success when operating at full scale. 
Update on Specific Studies

While the Depression Grand Challenge is still in its infancy, in comparison to its projected duration and the duration of typical research, there are already notable milestones that have been achieved.
  • Establishment of protocol to support scalable research
  • Discoveries related to the diagnosis and treatment of depression
  • Development of relationships with key campus organizations
  • Formation of critical partnerships with outside collaborators
For more information about specific demonstration projects, please refer to the table below:

Research Study
Status
Description
Behavioral Health Tracking of Depression
Active
The purpose of this study is to measure mood-related symptoms using mobile health technologies (specifically, a custom app developed by the DGC), and to track the trajectory of mood symptoms over time. Patients receiving care in the UCLA Mood Disorders Clinic are invited to participate in the study which lasts approximately 3.5 months.
Biomarkers: ECT
Active
Independent study open to those experiencing moderate-to-severe depression for at least six months and meet criteria for treatment resistance. The purpose of this study is to identify neurobiological changes in response to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in severely depressed patients in order to understand the biological mechanisms underlying treatment response. 
Biomarkers: Ketamine
Active
Independent study open to those experiencing moderate-to-severe depression for at least six months and meet criteria for treatment resistance. The purpose of this study is to identify neurobiological changes after serial infusions of ketamine in severely depressed patients in order to understand the biological mechanisms underlying treatment response.
Biomarkers: Sweat Pilot
Closed
The purpose of this study was to replicate findings that biomarkers of cortisol and cytokines are detectable in sweat, extracted through a standard iontophoresis procedure, and that such sweat­based levels of cortisol and cytokines differ in participants with elevated depressive symptoms as compared to participants without elevated depression.
Biomarkers: Total Sleep Deprivation
Active
Independent study open to those experiencing moderate-to-severe depression for at least six months and meet criteria for treatment resistance. The purpose of this study is to identify neurobiological changes after a single night of total sleep deprivation (or overnight wakefulness) in moderately-to-severely depressed patients in order to understand the biological mechanisms underlying treatment response. Read more about this study on Happenings.
ITN Research Clinic
Active
To demonstrate the merit of a tiered-treatment system, any student identified as experiencing severe depression or suicidal ideation through our Student Screening study is invited for an evaluation in our ITN clinic, where they will receive personalized care from a team of psychologists and psychiatrists for up to 10 months.
Migraine & Depression
Active
The purpose of this study is to closely track the co-occurrence of migraine and depression symptoms using a set of mobile tools. Participants who are scheduled to be seen at the Headache Research Center are eligible to participate.  If interested, call the UCLA Neurology Clinic at 310-794-1195 to make an appointment in order to be assessed for migraine and study eligibility.
Staff Studies: Screening
Closed
This study recruited UCLA staff members and evaluated the use of the CAT-MH as an online screening tool in a large group of individuals experiencing a range of symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Staff Studies: iCBT
Closed
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy program, as a treatment for UCLA staff members experiencing mild-to-moderate depression and/or mild-to-severe anxiety as identified through the Staff Screening study (above).
Staff Studies: Longitudinal Assessment and Monitoring
Closed
The purpose of this study was to monitor staff members who had been identified through the Staff Screening study, and track their behavioral changes and relationship with depressive symptoms.
Student Studies: Screening
Active
To date 4,000 students have participated to demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of screening and treating UCLA students for current symptoms of depression and anxiety as part of the Innovative Treatment Network. This study continues to solicit participants in follow up to Chancellor Block's commitment .
Student Studies:
Longitudinal Studies 
Active
Any UCLA student identified as experiencing mild-to-moderate depression or mild-to-severe anxiety through the Student Screening study (above) is invited to participate in a study designed to test the efficacy of our internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. 
VR-RT Pilot
Closed
The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a Virtual Reality Reward Training program, consisting of 13 twice weekly sessions, improves symptoms of anhedonia in depression, and whether such improvements correlate with changes in ventral striatal-orbitofrontal cortical regions and connectivity during a monetary incentive delay task.

For more information on the above studies, please visit the Depression Grand Challenge Human Studies Projects landing page.
Upcoming Events

A Conversation: The Basic Science of Depression
Presented by the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge and Weizmann Institute of Science  
When:  Wednesday, September 5, 2018 from  5:00 PM-7:00 PM
Where: Mong Auditorium - Engineering VI (404 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095)

RSVP by Tuesday, August 28, 2018 to  developmentevents@support.ucla.edu or (310) 206-0534

For more event details, please refer to the invitation.
TEDxUCLA Salon -  Tackling Depression: Understanding, preventing, and treating the world's greatest health problem  
When:  Thursday, October 25, 2018 from 8:30 AM-11:30 AM

For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact  Jo Ellen Aragon
jaragon@support.ucla.edu or (310) 794-3706

Recent News:

To read the latest updates about the Depression Grand Challenge between newsletters, please visit our  happenings page . A few recent features are linked below:

UCLA/IMG sportscaster Josh Lewin expresses interest in partnering with UCLA Depression Grand Challenge