By staff writers
Courtesy of The Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – Moleculera Labs has been awarded a two-year $300,000 matching grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
The grant supports the development and clinical validation of new diagnostic testing panels to identify autoantibodies directed against neuronal antigens in patients experiencing neuropsychiatric disorders including depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
“This new grant supports work expanding our successful efforts in developing additional assays to assist clinicians in diagnosing PANS and PANDAS, treatable neurologic conditions in children that manifest as obsessive-compulsive disorders, motor tics, separation anxiety and other behavioral disorders,” said Craig Shimasaki, president and CEO of Moleculera.
Research by Madeleine Cunningham, Oklahoma City-based Moleculera’s co-founder and chief scientific officer, and her collaborators has led to development of the Cunningham Panel. The panel measures anti-neuronal antibodies and neuronal cell-activating antibodies circulating in the patient’s blood, as well as the activity of a key enzyme in the brain involved in the up-regulation of many neurotransmitters including dopamine.
“Research by Moleculera and others suggest that a portion of patients with conditions such as chronic depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders may also be triggered by neuronal autoimmune responses and inflammation in the brain,” Shimasaki said. “If correctly identified, such patients could be treated with immune modulation therapies rather than psychiatric treatments alone, thus addressing an underlying cause of their disorder to improve their recovery and quality of life.”