New Compounds May Improve Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia treatment may see major advances in the future, thanks to chemical compounds identified by researchers at Vanderbilt University. It was announced this week that Vanderbilt has licensed the compounds to Karuna Pharmaceuticals, which will develop them further in preparation for human testing.

The new Vanderbilt compounds, developed by Jeffrey Conn and Craig Lindsley and colleagues, are exciting because they work differently than existing antipsychotic medications. Current medications work by binding to serotonin and dopamine receptors; while they provide relief from symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, they do little to improve negative symptoms like social withdrawal and difficulty with decision making. They also have potentially serious side effects.

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The new compounds work by inhibiting glycine transporter one (GlyT1), which allows brain cells to function more normally. "The potential of these new compounds to ameliorate the devastating social and cognitive deficits of schizophrenia, which do not respond to currently available medications, is very exciting,” said National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.

Read more about the new compounds and the drug development process here: http://www.newswise.com/articles/researchers-at-vanderbilt-and-karuna-ph...

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