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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The pipeline and future of drug development in schizophrenia

  • Author(s): Gray, J A
  • Roth, B L
  • et al.

While the current antipsychotic medications have profoundly impacted the treatment of schizophrenia over the past 50 years, the newer atypical antipsychotics have not fulfilled initial expectations, and enormous challenges remain in long-term treatment of this debilitating disease. In particular, improved treatment of the negative symptoms and cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia which greatly impact overall morbidity is needed. In this review we will briefly discuss the current pipeline of drugs for schizophrenia, outlining many of the strategies and targets currently under investigation for the development of new schizophrenia drugs. Many of these compounds have great potential as augmenting agents in the treatment of negative symptoms and cognition. In addition, we will highlight the importance of developing new paradigms for drug discovery in schizophrenia and call for an increased role of academic scientists in discovering and validating novel drug targets. Indeed, recent breakthroughs in genetic studies of schizophrenia are allowing for the development of hypothesis-driven approaches for discovering possible disease-modifying drugs for schizophrenia. Thus, this is an exciting and pivotal time for the development of truly novel approaches to drug development and treatment of complex disorders like schizophrenia.

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