We stand at a critical moment in schizophrenia research

Earlier this year we shared how we had made a breakthrough by identifying inflammation in the brains of people with schizophrenia.

Today, we want to tell you what came next. Because more than any discovery before it, this finding could fundamentally change the way we treat, prevent and ultimately cure this disease.

So, what did we find?

The team at NeuRA discovered that in people with schizophrenia, immune cells –normally in the blood – were appearing to cross into the region of the brain that produces dopamine and were in a position to influence its production.

This is significant because while researchers have long understood that increased dopamine underpins psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, we did not understand what was causing it. We now have a new possible cause.

In studies, we saw an 800% increase in levels of a marker of harmful blood cells in the brains of people with schizophrenia, versus people without it.

In post-mortem schizophrenia research, this kind of change is huge. I never thought I would see changes this dramatic in my lifetime.

Our next step is to learn how to stop this infiltration of harmful cells into the brain or find ways to prevent them effecting dopamine production.

If successful, this could bring about incredible benefit for those who are suffering from schizophrenia. We believe it could lead to better treatments and help us find a cure.

This principle of the immune system attacking the brain is revolutionary and I believe it will prove fundamental to our understanding of schizophrenia.

We believe the time is ripe to finally crack this disease. We’ve got the tools that we need. We’re looking at the brain in unique and novel ways. And we’re finding things that we never knew were there.

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