Schizophrenia treatment trial seeks participants

NeuRA researchers are seeking participants for the next round of a schizophrenia treatment trial beginning in July.

The CASSI trial (which stands for Cognitive and Affective Symptoms in Schizophrenia Intervention) is a novel approach for schizophrenia research, testing a type of drug that acts on oestrogen hormone receptors in the brain.

The trial is based on research by leading schizophrenia researcher, Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert, who has discovered that people with schizophrenia are more likely to inherit a gene that codes for a faulty oestrogen receptor in the brain.

The team is looking at the effect of the drug on learning and memory. The hope is that it will be effective in treating thinking problems often associated with schizophrenia.

The team is currently seeking 24 people to fill the next round of the trial. Researcher Loretta Moore says that more than 30 people have already enrolled in previous rounds of the trial.

“We have people coming from all over, flying in from Queensland and Victoria and from country New South Wales to be a part of this study,” she said.

“People are really interested in finding new treatments. Some people with schizophrenia still struggle to see improvements in some of their symptoms with the treatments currently available so many are interested to see if this is something that might help them.”

Ms Moore says this trial potentially offers a new treatment avenue. “The current treatment for schizophrenia is primarily with antipsychotics, but this is a novel approach with a different type of drug,” she said.

The drug, raloxifene, is being tested as an add-on treatment, said Ms Moore. “Even though raloxifene is already on the market to treat osteoporosis, we monitor participants closely to ensure it is well tolerated,” she said.

The team is seeking people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder between the ages of 18-50 years to participate.

For further information or if you would like to participate in the trial, please contact Loretta Moore on 02 9399 1683, l.moore@neura.edu.au.

Damien McDonell was a participant in the CASSI study. Click here to read an interview with Damien.

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