Activity: Public engagement and outreach › Media article or participation
Mental health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder could be treated in a new way using drugs that target the immune system, research suggests.
Scientists at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Roehampton, London, have discovered that patients suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have increased levels of a protein called Immuno-moodulin (Imood) in their lymphocytes, a type of immune cell.
Mice with high levels of this protein were also found to exhibit behaviors that are characteristic of anxiety and stress, such as digging and excessive grooming.
When the researchers treated the mice with an antibody that neutralized Imood, the animals' anxiety levels reduced.
The findings have led the researchers to file a patent application for the antibody and they are now working with a drug company to develop a potential treatment for human patients.