"We can dissect the effect of olanzapine and hopefully identify the mechanisms of action, and identify what receptor systems we want to target," Klenotich said. "Hopefully, we can develop a newer drug that we can aim towards the eating disorders clinic as an anorexic-specific drug that might be a little more acceptable to patients."
The study offers support for the clinical use of olanzapine, for which clinical trials are already under way to test in patients. Le Grange said the development of a pharmacological variant that more selectively treats anorexia nervosa could be a helpful way to avoid the "stigma" of taking an antipsychotic while giving clinicians an additional tool for helping patients.
"I think the clinical field is certainly very ready for something that is going to make a difference," Le Grange said. "I'm not saying there's a 'magic pill' for anorexia nervosa, but we have been lacking any pharmacological agent that clearly contributes to the recovery of our patients. Many parents and many clinicians are looking for that, because it would make our job so much easier if there was something that could turn symptoms around and speed up recovery."
Additionally, the study demonstrated the innovative experimental design and translational results that can come from a collaboration of laboratory and clinical experts.
"We don't talk to one another often enough in basic science and clinical science," Le Grange said. "More of that would be helpful for clinicians to understand the neurobiology of this disease. I'm very excited about the way this project is going, and I think it's going to be clinically very informative."
|Contact: Robert Mitchum|
University of Chicago Medical Center