Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd., (DSP) announced positive results from PEARL 2 - a phase 3 clinical trial of lurasidone for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. In this trial, both lurasidone 40 and 120 mg/day were significantly more effective than placebo for the treatment of schizophrenia. Lurasidone was well-tolerated with an overall discontinuation rate that was similar to placebo. "We are pleased with the results of this study as these data reinforce our belief that lurasidone will be an important treatment option for patients with schizophrenia, " said Masayo Tada, president and chief executive officer, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co.
A study published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine demonstrates that there is an association between schizophrenia and violence, but shows that this association is greatly increased by drug and alcohol abuse. Importantly, the study also finds that the risk of violence from patients with psychoses who also have substance use disorder is no greater than those who have a substance use disorder but who do not have a psychotic illness - in other words, schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses do not appear to be responsible for any additional risk of violence above the increased risk associated with substance abuse. Potentially this finding has implications for attempts to reduce violence in society, suggesting that strategies aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse would be more successful than focusing on mental illness.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Saphris tablets (asenapine) to treat adults with schizophrenia, a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder, and to treat bipolar I disorder in adults, a serious psychiatric disorder that causes shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. "Mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can be devastating to patients and families, requiring lifelong treatment and therapy, " said Thomas Laughren, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Effective medicines can help people with mental illness live more independent lives.
The observation that people taking medication for schizophrenia have lower cancer rates than other people has prompted new research revealing that anti-psychotic drugs could help treat some major cancers. A preliminary finding in the current online issue of the International Journal of Cancer reports that the anti-psychotic drug, pimozide, kills lung, breast and brain cancer cells in in-vitro laboratory experiments. Several epidemiological studies have noted the low rate of cancer among schizophrenic patients. These studies found, for example, that these patients have lower rates of lung cancer than other people, even though they are more likely to smoke.
A new advanced method for nano-scale imaging of vesicle-fusion - vesicles are biological nano-sized containers - could add to our understanding of diseases of the nervous system and viral infections. In the long term, this could be useful in developing a cure for neurological diseases and mental disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, depression, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease ). Researchers from the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology and the Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen are behind the new data, which have recently been published in the prestigious scientific journal PNAS. Neurons communicate with each other with the help of nano-sized vesicles.
In collaboration with colleagues from across Europe, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark have found mutations in the human genome that lead to an increased risk of developing schizophrenia. This discovery brings about a new understanding of the interplay between genes and the environment, i.e. why some individuals with specific genetic variations in, for example, the immune system are sensitive to a number of environmental factors (e.g. infections) when it comes to developing schizophrenia. The findings have just been published in the reputed scientific journal, Nature.