Clinical Trial for Schizophrenia treatment.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham are working with Monument Therapeutics, a stratified medicine drug development company, on a pioneering preclinical study to support the combination of cognitive biomarker and psychopharmacology approaches to treat cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a serious long-term illness rooted in abnormal function of the brain. As well as experiencing hallucinations and delusions, people diagnosed with schizophrenia show significant impairment in cognitive functions such as memory, learning and attention which greatly impacts their day-to-day life. Currently, there are no treatments available for cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia, despite considerable efforts by pharmaceutical companies over the last decade. One of the key reasons for this, is that all patients with schizophrenia do not have the same underlying biological dysfunctions and are therefore unlikely to all respond to the same type of drug tested in a clinical trial. This means a negative result in a clinical trial that includes all patients, may actually be masking beneficial treatment effects in specific subgroups of patients with schizophrenia.
Monument Therapeutics aim to solve this issue by using a digital task (a cognitive biomarker) to select specific subgroups of patients with schizophrenia that share similar biological and cognitive pathology. This approach potentially allows the identification of the specific patients for whom their drug treatment will work, thereby increasing the chance of clinical trial success. Precision medicine approaches i.e. tailoring treatments to subgroups of patients with similar pathology have been successful in cancer therapies, but have not been widely applied to psychiatric disorders. The first human clinical trials in this program are scheduled to start in 2022.