A new database to be launched today will provide schizophrenia researchers across Australia with access to new information to help them treat the condition.
The database, developed by eResearch company Intersect, will be used by the Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank (the Bank) and accessed by researchers around the country.
The Bank is managed by the Schizophrenia Research Institute's University of Newcastle group and collects genetic, clinical and neurological information from up to 4,000 volunteers across Australia.
Currently, accessing information stored in the Bank is a manual, time-consuming process. The new database will allow researchers to enter and retrieve data via a high security web portal.
"This database has revolutionised the way our schizophrenia research data is collected, stored and disseminated in Australia," Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank Manager, Dr Carmel Loughland, said.
"Now, scientists can easily input data; 'tag' that data with keywords so that others can easily find it; and download brain images, genetic and clinical information that could help them with their research.
"This database is a major investment in the storage, analysis and sharing of schizophrenia-related information."
Schizophrenia is a developmental brain condition that typically occurs in one in 100 people. It is the third leading cause of disability in young people and there is no known cure.
Professor Rodney Scott from the University of Newcastle, a Chief Investigator of the Bank, said the new database would enable new types of research into schizophrenia.
"This database allows scientists to share more information than ever before and opens up exciting new possibilities for researchers as we strive to learn more about this condition."
Intersect was formed by NSW universities to advance computing technologies for researchers.
Health and medical researchers at the University of Newcastle work in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.
The NSW Minister for Science and Medical Research Jodi McKay will launch the new database at 10am today in the Purdue Room, Great Hall, the University of Newcastle, Callaghan campus. Representatives of the Schizophrenia Research Institute, Intersect and the University of Newcastle will be available at the launch.