Researchers have found a possible new treatment for a subgroup of schizophrenia patients. The compound pomaglumetad methionil — synthesized after considerable research found that disturbances in the brain’s glutamate pathway could lead to schizophrenia symptoms — was used in a previously inconclusive trial. The authors of the new study, published in Biological Psychiatry, reanalyzed the same data and concluded that the compound could be effective if given to more targeted patients.

The initial trial may have inadvertently chosen subjects who were always going to be unresponsive to treatment because their schizophrenia was not caused by glutamate pathway disturbances. “Receptor selective compounds such as pomaglumetad may target specific sites that mediate disease in some but not all patients,” said Dr. Bruce Kinon of Lundbeck LLC, “Our tentative, though testable, findings may provide direction for the development of personalized treatments for a patient subgroup whose illness is associated with a dysregulation of brain glutamate function.”

The complex pathophysiology associated with schizophrenia makes it difficult to develop new therapies. The author’s of today’s study suggest that future pomaglumetad trials choose subjects from a specific subgroup of the population, ideally patients who have not already been exposed to other antipsychotic medications.

Editor of Biological Psychiatry, Dr. John Krystal added that although pomaglumetad methionil is not effective for all patients, it may be helpful for those who are in the early stage or those without extensive prior treatment with a 2nd-generation antipsychotic or other serotonin-2 receptor antagonist.

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