There may be hope on the horizon for psychiatric patients that suffer from major depression. New research study shows that gene therapy could be an effective treatment, as per successful testing on mice.
Dr. Michael Kaplitt, associate professor and vice chairman for research of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and a neurosurgeon at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center explains that research found restoration of a key gene called P11 that activates a specific protein in the tiny part of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens reversed depressive symptoms in mice.
“Given our findings, we potentially have a novel therapy to target what we now believe is one root cause of human depression…Current therapies for depression treat symptoms but not underlying causes, and while that works for many patients, those with advanced depression, or depression that does not respond to medication, could hopefully benefit from our new approach.”
“We believe that low levels of p11 may be one of the causes of depression in at least some patients,” Dr. Kaplitt says. “If we can restore it to normal levels, we can potentially reverse the process.”
A test group of 17 human patients that have suffered major depression in their life, showed significantly lower p11 levels compared patients without that disorder.
“Applying molecular neurobiology and gene therapy to depression could dramatically alter the approach to psychiatric diseases…In the absence of p11, a neuron can produce all the serotonin receptors it needs, but they will not be transported to the cell surface and therefore won’t stick out and latch on to the neurotransmitter,” said Dr. Michael Kaplitt.
According to Vitals.com, Dr. Michael Kaplitt is a board-certified Neurosurgeon with clinical activities focused upon the usage of minimally invasive, stereotactic techniques for the treatment of functional disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and epilepsy. He is also a Patients’ Choice physician based on consistently positive patient reviews.