Monday, September 9, 2019

Money for psychedelic compound research

Not often you see a microsyringe in the New York Times
credit: Bettmann/Corbis/NYT
Via the New York Times, interesting new philanthropy: 
The announcement on Wednesday that Johns Hopkins Medicine was starting a new center to study psychedelic drugs for mental disorders was the latest chapter in a decades-long push by health nonprofits and wealthy donors to shake up psychiatry from the outside, bypassing the usual channels. 
“Psychiatry is one of the most conservative specialties in medicine,” said David Nichols, a medicinal chemist who founded the Heffter Research Institute in 1993 to fund psychedelic research. “We haven’t really had new drugs for years, and the drug industry has quit the field because they don’t have new targets” in the brain. “The field was basically stagnant, and we needed to try something different.” 
The fund-raising for the new Johns Hopkins center was largely driven by the author and investor Tim Ferriss, who said in a telephone interview that he had put aside most of his other projects to advance psychedelic medicine... 
...Mr. Ferriss provided funds for a similar center at Imperial College London, which was introduced in April, and for individual research projects at the University of San Francisco, California, testing psilocybin as an aide to therapy for distress in long-term AIDS patients....
This is cool, here's hoping something comes of it. (When will antibiotics get a really passionate billionaire? (Yes, I know that Bill Gates does a little bit.)) 

2 comments:

  1. So the problem is that psychiatry is stuck on dopaminergic drugs, aiming at the D2 receptor, a decades-old target, and the solution is psychedelics, largely aimed at serotonergic receptors like 5HT2, which are... a decades-old target.

    Color me unenthusiastic.

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  2. I'm more confident that certain psychedelics could be used as tools in therapy, much like MDMA was upon its rediscovery in the 60s/70s, rather than being a daily prophylactic.

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