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Acadia's schizophrenia drug flops in Phase 3 trial

Acadia Pharmaceuticals has said its schizophrenia drug Nuplazid (primavanserin) has failed to beat placebo in a Phase 3 trial.

Nuplazid did not improve symptoms as an adjunctive treatment in adult patients with schizophrenia who had shown persistent inadequate response to their current antipsychotic therapy.

In a trial of 396 patients with moderate-to-severe psychotic symptoms, the drug did not show statistically significant improvements when given on top of patients existing antipsychotic treatments, compared to placebo.

Takeda opens R&D facility in San Diego, California

Japanese-firm Takeda pharmaceuticals has opened a new research facility in San Diego, California. The 165,000ft2 research centre will employ 250 staff.

The new facility will be focused on drug discovery in the areas of neuroscience and gastroenterology (GI).

The centre houses research platform groups across structural and computational biology, early target discovery and biologics for the advancement of potential molecules.

Takeda hopes the facility will supplement its R&D centres in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Shonan, Japan.

Scientists identify new form of dementia

A team of scientists from Britain and the United States have described a new form of dementia, according to a study published in the journal Brain.

The researchers are calling the disorder ‘limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy’ or LATE for short.

While similar to Alzheimer’s disease, the disorder, which is generally found in the ‘oldest-old’, is separate from Alzheimer’s.

Nevertheless, the researchers believe that many cases of LATE may have been mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease in the past.

CBD could be used to deliver drugs into the brain, research shows

Cannabidiol (CBD), one of 113 cannabinoids in cannabis plants, could be used to deliver medicines into the brain, according to research published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

The non-psychoactive cannabinoid could act as a Trojan horse in helping drugs slip through the blood brain barrier (BBB) in the brains of mice, the research says.

The BBB consists of a layer of tightly linked cells that line capillaries in the brain thus preventing substances from entering or exiting the brain.

Vitamin D deficiency may cause cognitive decline through weakening brain's scaffolding

Vitamin D deficiency may weaken supportive ‘scaffolding’ in the brain thus causing neurons difficulty in maintaining connections, according to a study published in the journal Trends in Neuroscience.

The research goes some way to explaining the link between low levels of vitamin D and a person’s likelihood of developing the neurological symptoms of mental health conditions.

Drug slows brain shrinkage associated with progressive multiple sclerosis, study shows

The multiple sclerosis drug ibudilast, slowed brain shrinkages in patients with progressive MS, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown.

Nerve stimulation treatments improve quality of life in depressed people, study shows

Image Credit: Manu5

Nerve stimulation treatments can significantly improve depressed people’s quality of life, even in cases in which an individual continues to suffer from depression, according to a study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.

The study saw Washington University researchers test vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) treatment, which was approved by the FDA in 2005, on a group of 328 patients suffering from cases of depression in which four or more antidepressants had failed to work effectively.

Prozac prevents cognitive decline during normal aging process, study shows

Image Credit: ZEISS Microscopy

A study conducted by MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has reinforced the notion that loss in the capacity for plasticity rather than loss of cells may be the root cause of cognitive decline throughout the normal aging process.

However scientists who published their results in the Journal of Neuroscience were able to restore the lost plasticity using the antidepressant medication fluoxetine commonly sold under the brand name Prozac, in mice.

Pfizer pumps $600m into venture fund, targeting neuroscience

Pfizer’s move to dump its neuroscience divisions caused serious ripples through the industry, with many wondering whether it heralded an end of big pharma’s interest in the notoriously difficult to target disease area, which includes the elusive targets of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Top Ten most popular articles on this week

As me move startlingly quickly towards Easter, it's time for another Top Ten rundown.

This week, Celgene surprised the industry by goign against the grain to invest in neuroscience, sealing a potential $2.2 billion drug development deal. The news that a male contraceptive pill currently in development also made waves by proving its safety in clinical studies. But the week's most popular story, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the news that Novartis is set to step into the medical marijuana market, partnering with a producer of the products in Canada.

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