12/12/2011: Yale researchers have published promising data supporting further exploration into a novel treatment for the symptoms of schizophrenia. The study, by authors affiliated with Yale University School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry, the West Haven campus of the Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System, and the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit of the Connecticut Mental Health Center, was released online in late November ahead of publication in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
In a double-blind study, healthy subjects were administered active or placebo compound (Org 25935) in random order followed by the drug ketamine, which is known to induce schizophrenia-like psychotic symptoms. Schizophrenia-like effects of ketamine, as measured by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), as well as perceptual alterations, as measured by the Clinician Administered Dissociative Symptoms Scale (CADSS), were significantly reduced by treatment with Org 25935, a glycine transporter inhibitor.
Deepak Cyril D'Souza, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Yale and the study's lead author, noted "To our knowledge this is the first study in humans demonstrating that pretreatment with a glycine transport inhibitor such as Org 25935 reduced some of the transient schizophrenia-like effects of ketamine. The findings provide preliminary support for further testing of this approach in the treatment of schizophrenia." Dr. D'Souza also serves as Director of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System's Schizophrenia Research Program.
Dr. D'Souza continued, "There is a need to develop new treatments for schizophrenia based on novel hypotheses. Drugs that can block or reduce the effects of ketamine such as glycine transporter inhibitors warrant further exploration as possible treatments for schizophrenia. However, any potential treatment for schizophrenia will eventually have to be tested in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. Of note, the results of a recent clinical trial with a different glycine transporter inhibitor (RG1678) in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, are promising."
Other Yale authors on this study include Nagendra Singh, Jacqueline Elander, Michelle Carbuto, Brian Pittman, and Mohini Ranganathan.