A research grant from the federal government has been awarded to two scientists from Yale’s Psychiatry Department for the investigation of the potential therapeutic effects of the drugs MDMA and methylone on veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The primary and secondary researchers leading this study are Alfred Kaye, MD, PhD, who serves as an assistant professor of psychiatry, and Christopher Pittenger, MD, PhD, the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry, respectively.
This research is financially supported by a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defence.
This severe condition affects an estimated 8% of the American population.
Although MDMA and methylone are part of a group of drugs known as entactogens, there is limited knowledge regarding the neurobiological processes they influence to potentially enhance learning and alleviate PTSD symptoms.
To gain a more profound understanding of how these substances might impact learning, Kaye, Pittenger, and their research team will employ advanced microscopic techniques and behavioural methods, examining everything from the whole brain to the synapse.
By discovering how entactogens modify learning dynamics within the active brain, the researchers aspire to shed light on novel PTSD treatments.
Kaye pointed out the recent success of MDMA in a Phase 3 clinical trial for enhancing PTSD psychotherapy, emphasizing the need for comprehensive studies to delve into how these drugs affect neural plasticity.
Kaye’s research into innovative post-traumatic stress disorder treatments is backed by the VA National Center for PTSD, Clinical Neurosciences Division, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center.
Meanwhile, Pittenger shares the responsibility of directing the Yale Program for Psychedelic Sciences, which is devoted to pioneering drug treatments for psychiatric disorders.
The latest announcement follows the FDA approving a clinical trial involving MDMA and its possible treatment of schizophrenia.