A cancer drug currently in advanced clinical trials was found to alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia in mice, according to a new study.
Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious mental health conditions and affects about 24 million people worldwide.
The illness is a long-term mental health condition that causes a number of psychological symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions as well as behaviour changes.
The new study also revealed the molecular pathway that is affected during the onset of schizophrenia.
"For the first time we have found that an enzyme activator called p35 is reduced in patients with schizophrenia and moreover, modelling this reduction in mice led to cognitive impairment typical for this disease," said Professor Peter Giese at King's College London, who led the study.
"This gives us a better understanding of the changes that occur in the brain during the onset of schizophrenia.
"We noted that the reduction in p35 affects the same molecular changes targeted by a cancer drug called MS-275, so we administered this drug to the mice.
"We were excited to find that MS-275 not only addressed the molecular changes but also alleviated the symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
"Our findings encourage the future exploration of these types of drugs for treating impaired cognition in schizophrenia," he added.
The study has been published online in the journal Brain.