Sascha Mueller (Kalin Lab) was recently one of the first authors in a study published recently in the journal Molecular Therapy, where they described a new method that could alter the function of specific cells in brain circuits implicated in anxiety and other types of psychiatric disorders, and lead to new, less invasive treatments.
The researchers used an established method called DREADDs, Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs. The method relies on gene therapy techniques, which make small changes to the genes in targeted cells to change the cells’ behavior. In this case, the idea is to coax brain cells called neurons to produce a unique version of a protein called a receptor on the cell membrane. Cell membrane receptors receive chemical signals that regulate the cell’s function and affect how cells communicate with one another.
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