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MCL 1793.0: Treatment of Depression

William Carlezon, Ph.D.

Background and Description

Depression is a mental condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Although there are various medications available, many of these have unacceptable side affects. The invention is based on the finding of a molecular pathway involved in depression, in a region of the brain other than the hippocampus (the site of most research on the mechanisms of depression). Specifically, the invention is based on the finding that stressors that cause symptoms of depression in animal models increate the activation in this brain region of a transcription factor which in turn activates the gene for a brain peptide known to act at a specific receptor. Administration of an antagonist to this receptor has an antidepressant effect in this animal model.

Potential Commercial Uses

The invention comprises methods of treating depression by administering drugs to block action at this receptor, to prevent stress-induced increases in a key brain peptide. The invention also comprises a novel molecular target for screening of drugs against depression.

Publication and Patent Status

McLean Hospital is the owner of U.S. Patent Number 6,528,518 claiming this invention. The application is also pending in Europe and Japan. Pliakas et al., J. Neuroscience 21(18):7397-7403, describes portions of the invention. (USPTO # 6,528,518)

Licenses Available

McLean Hospital is offering a worldwide exclusive license to this technology.

For more information, please contact:

Anne Ritter, Licensing Manager
Partners Research Ventures and Licensing
(617) 954-9529