Biotech Updates

CRISPR-Cas9 Helps Find New Antidepressant Drugs

September 12, 2018

Scientist Steven Mennerick says that the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs were approved for use more than three decades ago, and new ways to develop new medications are necessary. Thus, he and his colleagues from the Washington University School of Medicine utilized CRISPR-Cas9 to determine the function of a neuroreceptor delta gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) to pave the way to new drug development.

The GABA receptor binds the neurotransmitter GABA, which is known to slow down brain processes that lead to excessive negative thoughts and feelings. Scientists have thought of utilizing this receptor to design new drugs in the past, but the presence of other types of GABA receptors hindered them from doing so. Using genome editing, researchers isolated the function of the delta GABA receptor and confirm that this receptor is involved in alleviating depression. The study opens the door for further discovery of antidepressant drugs with more specific functions and less side effects.

For more information, read the article in Neuroscience News.