Assoc Prof Tom Weickert with CATS study participant Leanne and research assistant Isabella Jacomb

CATS

RESEARCH STUDY

CANAKINUMAB ADD-ON TREATMENT FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA (CATS) STUDY

Canakinumab adjunctive treatment to reduce symptoms and improve cognition in people with schizophrenia displaying elevated blood inflammatory markers

HREC Approval Number: 14/072
What is the purpose of this study?

You are invited to participate in a research study of a human immune cell-line antibody on language, memory, and symptoms of schizophrenia. This human immune cell-line antibody, canakinumab, is a class of medication that decreases the levels of the protein interleukin-1beta (IL-1β). The IL-1β protein is produced in response to inflammation in your body and canakinumab can decrease IL-1β protein and inflammation by blocking the pathway. We hope to learn how this human immune cell-line antibody, in addition to your normal antipsychotic medication, can also improve thought processing and reduce symptoms in people with schizophrenia, and to determine if this human immune cell-line antibody can be used as a new therapeutic treatment for thinking problems and symptoms in people with schizophrenia.

What does the study involve?

The study involves a one-time injection of canakinumab or placebo and 6 monitoring assessment visits over a 4-month period. The assessments include:

  • An in-person screening interview
  • Cognitive tests
  • Symptom assessments
  • Medical examinations and clinical interviews
  • Blood collection
  • Structural and functional MRI
Who can enrol?

Men or women age 18-55 years old with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. You must be taking antipsychotic medication for at least one year but you must not be taking clozapine and have no other psychiatric diagnoses, history of seizures, substance abuse (within past 3 years), head injury or loss of consciousness, central nervous system infections or other serious or chronic infections, and if a woman, you cannot be pregnant.

Will I be reimbursed?

Your participation in this study may have associated expenses. Reimbursement will be provided for your time and for out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel to the centre.

Contact Information

If you have any questions, or if you are interested in participating, please feel free to contact a member of the research team:

Isabella Jacomb at 02 9399 1858, email: i.jacomb@neura.edu.au

Dr Thomas W Weickert at 02 9399 1730, fax: 02 9399 1034, email: t.weickert@neura.edu.au

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

The cold case of schizophrenia - broken wide open!

‘It is like they were miraculously healed!’’ Schizophrenia is diagnosed by clinical observation of behaviour and speech. This is why NeuRA researchers are working hard to understand the biological basis of the illness. Through hours of work and in collaboration with doctors and scientists here and around the world, NeuRA has made an amazing breakthrough. For the first time, researchers have discovered the presence of antibodies in the brains of people who lived with schizophrenia. Having found these antibodies, it has led NeuRA researchers to ask two questions. What are they doing there? What should we do about the antibodies– help or remove them? This is a key breakthrough. Imagine if we are treating schizophrenia all wrong! It is early days, but can you imagine the treatment implications if we’ve identified a new biological basis for the disease? It could completely change the way schizophrenia is managed, creating new treatments that will protect the brain. More than this, could we be on the verge of discovering a ‘curable’ form of schizophrenia? How you can help We are so grateful for your loyal support of schizophrenia research in Australia, and today I ask if you will consider a gift today. Or, to provide greater confidence, consider becoming a Discovery Partner by making a monthly commitment. We believe there is great potential to explore these findings. Will you help move today’s breakthrough into tomorrow’s cure? To read more about this breakthrough, click ‘read the full story’ below. You are also invited to read ‘Beth’s story’, whose sweet son Marcus lived with schizophrenia, by clicking here.
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