Current antidepressants combined improve the lives of only 50% of patients. There are still millions of people suffering from depression without any treatment alternatives available.
An antidepressant drug known as ketamine, acts on a type of receptor in neurons known as NMDA receptor, showing great efficacy and fast effects, but too many adverse effects to be offered massively.
Recent studies have shown that another cell in the brain known as astrocyte, releases substances that regulate the activity of these same NMDA receptors in neurons. By targeting these cells, we achieved similar antidepressant effects as ketamine's, but without any measurable side effect. We have developed novel patentable molecules with fast antidepressant effects in rodent models of depression, that by targeting astrocytes, induce a partial reduction of NMDA receptor activity sufficient to induce antidepressant effects, but not sufficient to induce sedative effects.
Given that this is a novel target for antidepressants, it promises to be a new solution for the millions of patients suffering from depression who would be benefited from a new treatment.
Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile
Astrocytes Oral Presentation