Research by Dr. Gregory Strauss offers promise for treating schizophrenia


Research by Dr. Gregory Strauss offers promise for treating schizophrenia

Research by Greg Strauss, OIBR Fellow and Assistant Professor of Psychology at UGA shows that targeting one particular symptom of schizophrenia has a positive effect on other symptoms, offering significant promise for treating an aspect of schizophrenia that currently has no pharmaceutical options.

A team led by Dr. Strauss published a study confirming that successfully treating the symptom avolition—reduced motivation—has a positive effect on other negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The results, published in Schizophrenia Bulletin, were based on a phase 2b trial of the compound roluperidone by Minerva Neurosciences.

“There’s a lot of hope that Minerva’s phase 3 trial will show a similar improvement in negative symptoms,” said Strauss. “This could be the first drug that receives an indication for negative symptoms of schizophrenia from the Food and Drug Administration, which is perhaps the biggest need in the field of psychiatry. It would be a monumental benefit to the lives of people with schizophrenia.”

Schizophrenia is the leading medical cause of functional disability worldwide, according to several population-based studies of health. People with functional disability struggle to hold a job, build social relationships and maintain the independent activities of daily living. In the U.S., it can also refer to receiving government-supported disability funds.

“The government spends a tremendous amount of money every year on functional disability,” Strauss said. “Negative symptoms are the strongest predictor of functional disability, but no medication has received FDA approval for treating them. Therefore, they are a critical treatment target.”

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