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Recent studies report an important relationship between mood disorders and stress that causes disturbances in the brain cell function.

We are identifying how normal brain cells fight stress using evolutionary neuropeptide defense mechanisms to restore normal brain cell function. Our mission is to harness the power of peptides for effective and safe new treatment options.

Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety Disorders

Restoring the brain’s own defenses to fight stress

Mood and anxiety disorders represent the largest market segment in the highly profitable, rapid growth category of central nervous system disorders. An estimated 340 million people worldwide and 21 million people in the United States suffer from depression and anxiety.

 

Over the past decade there has been increasing awareness of mood disorders, fading stigmatization and improved treatment options. Still, it is estimated that more than half of the people who use these treatments are unresponsive or intolerant of the side effects.

 

Recent studies report an important relationship between mood disorders and neuropeptide circuits of the brain regulating stress and anxiety. Current antidepressant medications were not designed to target the neurobiological pathologies that are now considered central to the stress-linked etiology of depressive disorders. Targeting these stress-responsive neuropeptide circuits potentially offers a new and exciting treatment paradigm for mood and anxiety disorders.

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The global sales of anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs were estimated to be US $69 billion in 2013 and are projected to grow to nearly $77.1 billion by 2018 (BCC Research). Yet, up to one-half of mood disorder patients are unresponsive to current treatments. Efficacy of therapy is challenged by non-compliance during the weeks to months required to achieve therapeutic benefit in combination with daily dosing requirements. Major targets in this space include treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), both indications which are highly resistant to available therapies.

 

TRD is the type of major depressive disorder (MDD) that does not respond to standard courses of antidepressant medication. Stress plays a significant role in this illness that affects as many as half of people diagnosed with depression. Patients suffering with TRD are at greater risk of hospitalization for their psychiatric illness and are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. These patients have a lower long-term quality of life and are at increased risk of attempting suicide. As a last resort, this disease is currently managed by invasive treatment, primarily electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, the ECT treatment’s side effects and high cost prevent millions of people from taking advantage of it.

*  PTSD affects an estimated 7.7 million adults (3.5%) in the US, with a disproportionately high prevalence in war veterans. Therapeutic approaches include cognitive therapy in combination with antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In addition to the vulnerabilities noted above for antidepressant-related treatments, PTSD patients often present with co-morbidities, such as addictions or dependencies, which make therapeutic case management difficult.

 

*  AJ Baxter et al., “Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: a systemic review and meta-regression,” Psychological Medicine in 2013.

Recent studies report an important relationship between mood disorders and neuropeptide circuits of the brain.