To develop relevant phenotypical high throughput screens for the discovery of new treatments for bipolar affective disorder (BAD).
Current animal models used to study BAD include genetically altered mice and rodent models of schizophrenia or major depression. The latter involves the administration of drugs which cause psychosis in man, or subjecting animals to stress (e.g. maternal deprivation) and are therefore associated with significant welfare concerns. Using iPS cells from BAD patients as screening tools for the development of novel treatment options, it will be possible to reduce the dependence on animal models, improve the predictive validity of the assays, and possibly even make some of the present in vivo testing obsolete.
Specifically this will include reducing the use of:
- Standard rodent models for novel drug screening, which attempt to mimic some elements of BAD and rely on reference drugs to provide some predictive value. Typically dose-response curves are generated in these models using 7 to 15 animals per treatment concentration.
- Classical behavioural testing in transgenic animals where specific genetic factors derived from GWAS or disease pathway analysis are modified.
- Drug testing in transgenic models.
- Ex vivo tissue from transgenic animals.
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