Experimental Cancer Drug Reverses Schizophrenia in Adolescent Mice

Posted on April 10, 2014

Johns Hopkins researchers say that an experimental anticancer compound appears to have reversed behaviors associated with schizophrenia and restored some lost brain cell function in adolescent mice with a rodent version of the devastating mental illness.

In the new Johns Hopkins-led study, reported online March 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that the compound, called FRAX486, appears to halt an out-of-control biological “pruning” process in the schizophrenic brain during which important neural connections are unnecessarily destroyed.

Working with mice that mimic the pathological progression of schizophrenia and related disorders, the researchers were able to partially restore disabled neurons so they could connect to other nerve cells.

The Johns Hopkins team says the findings in teenage mice are an especially promising step in efforts to develop better therapies for schizophrenia in humans, because schizophrenia symptoms typically appear in late adolescence and early adulthood.

"By using this compound to block excess pruning in adolescent mice, we also normalized the behavior deficit," says study leader Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "That we could intervene in adolescence and still make a difference in restoring brain function in these mice is intriguing."


Category(s):Schizophrenia

Source material from Johns Hopkins Medicine


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