Bringing New Expertise in Neuroinflammation to Conquer Schizophrenia
Originally published in the NeuRA Magazine Issue 25
The Schizophrenia Group under the guidance of NSW Chair of Schizophrenia Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert, are looking at two new areas of research: brain inflammation and models of the disease. There is strong evidence linking brain inflammation with schizophrenia, along with other mental health conditions. Growing the team will be vital to exploring this evidence further, and answering the question: Could severe mental illness be better treated with anti-inflammatory therapies?
The second area of focus will be creating models of schizophrenia to allow testing of known drugs that could have a role in the treatment of the condition. Before any human clinical trial, researchers need to demonstrate that these new therapies, which are already known to be safe for use in humans, are able to achieve the predicted biological effects. For example, a new anti-inflammatory therapy needs to have evidence that it will reduce one or more of the symptoms of schizophrenia before clinical trials can commence.
NeuRA is focused on bringing new expertise in neuroinflammation to support our schizophrenia research, to provide hope and new treatment pathways through discoveries now made possible by greater funding, enhanced technology and insights into anti-inflammatory therapies.
A highly interesting line of research. Schizophrenia appears to be a glutamatergic autoimmune disease mediated by a chronic T cell response to NMDA receptor-expressing neurons in the hippocampus of patients (de Haan P et al., Front. Psychiatry 8: 46, 2018).