Effective Use of Animal Models for Therapeutic Development in Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders.

11 Apr 2018

Athina Markou and others argue forcefully for the adoption of a "translational-back translational strategy" for central nervous system drug discovery involving novel application of drugs with established safety profiles in proof-of-principle studies in humans, which in turn encourage parallel studies using experimental animals to provide vital data on the neural systems and neuropharmacological mechanisms related to the actions of the candidate drugs. Encouraged by the increasing adoption of drug-development strategies involving reciprocal information exchange between preclinical animal studies and related clinical research programs, this review presents additional compelling examples related to the following: 1) the treatment of cognitive deficits that define attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; 2) the development of fast-acting antidepressants based on promising clinical effects with low doses of the anesthetic ketamine; and 3) new and effective medications for the treatment of substance misuse. In the context of addressing the unmet medical need for new and effective drugs for treatment of mental ill health, now may be the time to launch major new academic-industry consortia committed to open access of all preclinical and clinical data generated by this research.