Cancer Drugs a Promising Schizophrenia Treatment?

Researchers in the UK have determined that the onset of schizophrenia is associated with dysfunction in a particular molecular pathway in the brain, and have been successful in alleviated schizophrenia symptoms in mice through the use of a common cancer drug. The research was recently published online in the journal Brain.

According to study author Peter Giese, of King's College in London, "For the first time we have found that an enzyme activator called p35 is reduced in patients with schizophrenia and moreover, modelling this reduction in mice led to cognitive impairment typical for this disease. This gives us a better understanding of the changes that occur in the brain during the onset of schizophrenia."

The p35 enzyme is required to activate a protein called Cdk5, which is necessary for proper brain development. Human brains studied post-mortem showed that people with schizophrenia had about half as much p35 as those without the disorder, so the researchers modeled these changes in mice for their study. The mice with reduced p35 also had a reduction in synaptic proteins and displayed symptoms of schizophrenia.

"We noted that the reduction in p35 affects the same molecular changes targeted by a cancer drug called MS-275, so we administered this drug to the mice," said Professor Giese. "We were excited to find that MS-275 not only addressed the molecular changes but also alleviated the symptoms associated with schizophrenia."

Read more: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-07/kcl-cdm072011.php

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