U of S study aims to improve depression treatment

Research may hold promise for producing newer, faster-acting antidepressants using a protein naturally produced by the brain.

(Photo by Dave Stobbe)

Current medications work on only about half of patients and take around one month to work, often with significant side effects.     

“There is an urgent need for new antidepressants that work more quickly and in a higher proportion of patients,” said neuroscience professor Lisa Kalynchuk. 

Presented at an international conference, Kalynchuk’s research in an animal model shows that a protein called reelin has an antidepressant effect in just one day. Her PhD student Kyle Brymer has been the first to demonstrate this protein can also reverse structural changes in the brain caused by depression.  

“This research could change how depression is treated,” said Kalynchuk. “If research and trials go well on rats, our work may eventually lead to developing the first new drug in 50 years with a new way of acting in the body.”

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