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Depression Treatment in the Form of a Nasal Spray

Update Date: Mar 24, 2014 03:37 PM EDT

Depression is a mental disorder that prevents people from carrying out every day activities. When the condition is left untreated, it can lead to suicidal ideation and death. Even though there are many treatment options available, not every one responds to them well. In a new study, researchers set out to find an alternative therapeutic treatment approach. The team, headed by Dr. Fang Liu, a senior scientist from the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH (Center for Addiction and Mental Health), found that a nasal spray containing a peptide protein could potentially treat depression.

"Clinically, we needed to find a non-invasive, convenient method to deliver this peptide treatment," Dr. Liu said according to Medical Xpress.

Dr. Liu first developed the peptide protein back in 2010 in another study. In that study, which was published in Nature Medicine, Dr. Liu concluded that the protein was effective in relieving some of the symptoms of depression. At the time, Dr. Liu found that the peptide was only effective if it was injected directly into the brain, which prompted her to find a way to administer the protein with minimal invasiveness.

The researchers worked with Impel NeuroPharma, which is a company based in the United States, and created the nasal spray. When used on animal models, the spray was effective in delivering the peptide to the right part of the brain. The peptide effectively alleviated some of the depression-like symptoms present in the animals.

"This study marks the first time a peptide treatment has been delivered through nasal passageways to treat depression," said Dr. Liu, who is also a Professor in the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry. "This research brings us one step closer to clinical trials."

The study was published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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