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American Chemical Society's Weekly PressPac -- Sept. 10, 2008


Gaoping Cao, Ph.D.
Research Institute of Chemical Defense
Beijing, China
Phone: 86-10-66705840
Fax: 86-10-66748574


New medications for schizophrenia
Chemical & Engineering News

New scientific insights into schizophrenia are pointing toward new drugs that offer hope for millions of individuals with the disease the most serious form of mental illness, according to an article scheduled for the Sept. 15 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine. Schizophrenia affects about 25 million people, or about one percent of adults, worldwide.

In the article, C&EN Assistant Editor Carmen Drahl notes that existing medications for schizophrenia, so-called antipsychotics, help ease some symptoms, such as hallucinations and disorganized speech. However, they do not deal with all of the disease's symptoms, such as lack of motivation and impairments to decision-making.

Researchers are now moving beyond traditional drugs, which generally target dopamine neurotransmission, and focusing on new targets that might tackle a wider range of symptoms. The article describes animal and human trials of several potential new drugs that focus on new disease targets, including the glutamate neurotransmitter system, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, and a signaling pathway mediated by cyclic nucleotides.

These substances appear to help relieve a wider range of symptoms while causing fewer side effects, the researchers note. "We're still trying to understand the basic mechanisms of schizophrenia, which will hopefully lead to more effective treatments that target core features of the illness," notes an outside expert.


Contact: Michael Woods
American Chemical Society

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