Potential drug for bipolar disorder with no side effectsPublished On: Sat, Jul 7th, 2007 | Health | By BioNews
July 7 : Researchers have identified a new compound that might help in developing a new drug with no side-effects as compared to current treatments to cure bipolar disorder or manic depression.
Bipolar disorder is currently treated with drugs called mood stabilizers containing lithium or valproic acid which are believed to act by blocking the function of an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) in the brain.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Alan Kozikowski of the University of Illinois in Chicago, Nature reports.
As part of the study, researchers tested a class of newly discovered compounds that inhibited an enzyme similar to GSK-3.
Researchers looked for a way to improve the compounds’ binding to the enzyme’s ‘active site’ and made changes in the enzyme so that the compound could get to the brain from the blood by passing through a water-resistant membrane.
The scientists made a whole family of molecules (called 3-(benzofuran-3-yl)-4-(indol-3-yl) maleimides) and found the most effective drug, which they tested on a mouse model of ‘mania’, to see if they blocked the enzyme’s chemical behaviour.
Researchers found that the hyperactive mice were calmed when the ‘new candidate’ drug was given.
Researchers hope that the human trials of the drug will also prove successful, however one concern is that if the GSK-3 inhibitor compound hits some other function of the enzyme it can cause cancer risk. (ANI)