University of California, Davis announce This week, it is launching a new institute that aims to “advance basic knowledge about psychedelic mechanisms and translate them into safe and effective treatments for diseases such as depressionpost-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, among others.”
Called the Institute for Neurological Drugs and Therapies, the university said in the announcement that it would “bring together scientists across a range of disciplines and partner with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that key discoveries lead to new medicines for patients,” adding that the institute is “designed specifically to facilitate collaboration across campus.” .”
The college said the institute “will be funded in part by a contribution of approximately $5 million from the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Medicine, the Vice Chancellor for Research, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor.” Funding would distinguish it from other centers participating in the same field of study.
“While other psychedelic science centers across the country have been established with gifts from philanthropists, UC Davis is also known for its support from substantial university funds,” the university said.
The university said that “another unique feature of the UC Davis Institute will be its focus on chemistry and the development of new neurotherapies.”
David E. Olson, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at UC Davis, has been selected as the founding director of the new institute.
Psychedelics have a lot of therapeutic potential, but we can do better,” said Olson, whose team published research three years ago “describing the first non-psychedelic analog of a psychedelic compound capable of enhancing neuroplasticity and producing antidepressant and anti-addictive effects.” preclinical models,” according to the university.
In Olson’s view, the university said, “New molecules tailored to specific disease indications can offer significant benefits and open doors for partnerships with industry by solving many of the issues currently faced by traditional psychiatric medicines related to safety, scalability, and intellectual property.”
“Psychic drugs have a unique ability to induce long-term changes in the brain that are relevant to the treatment of many conditions,” Olson said. “If we can harness those beneficial properties while engineering safer, more scalable molecules, we can help a lot of people.”
John A. Gray, associate professor in the department of neurology, will serve as associate director. Olson and Gray authored a study in 2018 that “proves that hallucinogenic drugs enhance neuroplasticity — the growth of new nerve cells and the formation of neural connections,” the university said in its announcement this week.
“Neural cell atrophy is a major factor behind many diseases, and the drug’s ability to promote the growth of neurons and new connections in the brain can have broad therapeutic implications,” Gray said.
The university stated that the institute “will benefit from the extraordinary breadth of expertise in the neuroscience community at UC Davis, which includes nearly 300 faculty members in centers, institutes, and departments across the Davis and Sacramento campuses,” and that researchers “will be able to work on Every aspect of psychedelics, from molecules and cells to human clinical trials.”
“The combination of the significant experience of UC Davis’s leading basic research teams, world-class neuroscientists and our nationally recognized medical center is a formula for success that we are confident will lead to groundbreaking discoveries that will help patients both regionally and globally,” Susan Morin, MD of the Faculty of Medicine, in this week’s announcement.