A unique immune-based therapy to treat psychological disorders.
Psychological disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, depression, etc.) are among the most prevalent diseases of humankind. These disorders affect approximately 16% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older in a given year, and when less severe conditions are considered as well (e.g. obsessive-compulsive behavior), the percentage is even higher (about 26%). Hitherto, no disease-modifying therapy has been available for any of these diseases – the conventional treatments being psychotherapy and non-therapeutic medications whose use is complicated by side effects and limitations in the amount of time they can be administered. The market for an effective disease-modifying therapy is, therefore, potentially huge. The present technology offers the use of therapeutic vaccinations to boost the body’s own repair mechanisms.
The basis of the therapeutic approach proposed in this technology is the groundbreaking discovery that peripheral immune cells play a key role in adult brain plasticity and that immune deficiency or malfunction can impair brain plasticity. Furthermore, it was found that the immunization of mice suffering from one of the above psychological disorders alleviated their symptoms. The recognition that the systemic immune system is a factor in containing mental stress offers new directions for the development of a therapy for stress-induced pathologies such as PTSD and depression. This T cell-based immunization increases the body’s physiological ability to cope with stress.