Cancer Drug To Relieve Schizophrenia Symptoms
A group of researchers have discovered a molecular pathway which is altered when schizophrenia sets in and they got to reduce symptoms in mice by using a cancer drug.
According to the researchers, it seems that there is hope for the emergence of new treatments for schizophrenia some day. 24 million people are affected by schizophrenia, all around the world and the condition is a long-term one which has symptoms such as hallucinations and changes in behavior.
What is the worst about this mental illness is that the causes of its development are unknown. Although researchers have said that a combination of genetic and environmental factors might be behind it, no one knows for sure what is behind schizophrenia. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization, almost 90 percent of people who have schizophrenia and take no treatment for it come from well developed countries. Current treatments for schizophrenia include things such as cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling or psychotherapy and medication. Still, many of the drugs used by people to keep their symptoms under control have terrible side-effects. Zyprexa, for instance, one of the most popular drugs used in the treatment for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is currently known to produce diabetes, beside other things.
“For the first time we have found that an enzyme activator called p35 is reduced in patients with schizophrenia and moreover; modeling this reduction in mice led to cognitive impairment typical for this disease,” said Peter Giese, Ph.D. from the King’s College in London, the lead researcher of the study. He went on saying that this finding allows them to see what changes are produced in the brain once schizophrenia sets in. From what the researchers said, in order for the brain to work properly, it must create a certain protein called Cdk5, which results from the existence of an enzyme, called p35. In previous studies made on human post-mortem brains, researchers have discovered that people with schizophrenia had approximately a 50 percent less production of Cdk5.
The researchers made a study on mice and what they observed was that once the p35 enzyme was reduced in their brains, the mice started having symptoms of schizophrenia, among which impairment in learning and also the inability to react to stimuli. According to the researchers, understanding how low levels of p35 influence the brain and aids the installment of schizophrenia is vital in finding new forms of treatments for the condition. Once the researchers found about the p35 enzyme, they administered the cancer drug called MS-275 to the mice, as the p35 affects the same regions, and they observed that symptoms of schizophrenia were reduced significantly. The researchers concluded by saying that they encouraged the exploration of these types of drugs, especially when it comes to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.11