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Advancing schizophrenia drug discovery : optimizing rodent models to bridge the translational gap

Pratt, Judith and Winchester, Catherine and Dawson, Neil and Morris, Brian (2012) Advancing schizophrenia drug discovery : optimizing rodent models to bridge the translational gap. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 11 (7). pp. 560-579. ISSN 1474-1776

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Although our knowledge of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia has increased, treatments for this devastating illness remain inadequate. Here, we critically assess rodent models and behavioural end points used in schizophrenia drug discovery and discuss why these have not led to improved treatments. We provide a perspective on how new models, based on recent advances in the understanding of the genetics and neural circuitry underlying schizophrenia, can bridge the translational gap and lead to the development of more effective drugs. We conclude that previous serendipitous approaches should be replaced with rational strategies for drug discovery in integrated preclinical and clinical programmes. Validation of drug targets in disease-based models that are integrated with translationally relevant end point assessments will reduce the current attrition rate in schizophrenia drug discovery and ultimately lead to therapies that tackle the disease process.