Innovative screening models for the discovery of new schizophrenia drug therapies: An integrated approach


Marinos G Sotiropoulos, Eleni Poulogiannopoulou, Foteini Delis, Christina Dalla, Katerina Antoniou, and Nikolaos Kokras. 2021. “Innovative screening models for the discovery of new schizophrenia drug therapies: An integrated approach.” Expert Opin Drug Discov.


: Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. However, available treatment options do not fully address the disease. Whereas current antipsychotics may control psychotic symptoms, they seem notoriously ineffective in improving negative and cognitive symptoms or in preventing functional decline. As the etiology of schizophrenia eludes us, the development of valid animal models for screening new drug targets appears to be a strenuous task. Areas covered In this review, the authors present the key concepts that validate animal models of schizophrenia, as well as the different screening approaches for novel schizophrenia treatments. The models covered are either based on major neurotransmitter systems or neurodevelopmental, immune and genetic approaches. Expert opinion Sadly, due to inertia, research focuses on developing "anti-psychotics", instead of "anti-schizophrenia" drugs that would tackle the entire syndrome of schizophrenia. Whereas no perfect model may ever exist, combining different experimental designs may enhance validity, as the over-reliance on a single model is inappropriate. Multi-model approaches incorporating vulnerability, the "two-hit" hypothesis and endophenotypes offer a promise for developing new strategies for schizophrenia treatment. Forward and reverse translation between preclinical and clinical research will increase the probability of success and limit early or late-stage failures in drug development.