Immunotherapy for psychosis (SINAPPS study)


What is this research?

There is some evidence that around 9% of people that present with psychosis have very particular kinds of antibodies in their system. Essentially the body is acting as if it is fighting an infection and psychosis soon follows. Indeed there is a known illness called ‘antibody-mediated encephalitis’ where this is exactly what happens.

People who have these antibodies often have symptoms that are very similar to schizophrenia. So much so in fact that people are often treated in mental health services and given antipsychotic medication. This condition is known as ‘antibody mediated psychosis’.

If you would like to view a booklet about antibody mediated psychosis please click here.

A team of researchers from Cambridge and Oxford have received funding from the Stanley Foundation for a one year study involving people with psychosis who have the antibodies that causes antibody mediated encephalitis. This is the SINAPPS 1 study.

The study team will also be investigating a possible new way of treating people with antibody mediated psychosis. The research is funded by the Medical Research Council and is known as the SINAPPS 2 study.  You can find out more about the research by looking at the study website ( or by clicking here.


Why is this research important?

The research could have the potential to lead to a new way of treating a small but significant proportion of people with psychosis. The study may also help to better understand what causes psychosis in this group of people. There are not many different ways of helping people with psychosis and this research may lead an entirely new treatment option.


What are we doing?

We will be providing the service user involvement for this study. We are in the process of forming a Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) of seven service users for the study. The LEAP will provide advice and assistance to the wider study team as the research progresses. Members of the LEAP will also assist with developing a much larger follow-up study which will take place across England.


What is the current status of this project?

The project has received ethical approval and people are just starting to be recruited to the study.


Who do I contact for more information?

You can contact Thomas Kabir by email or phone 0207 922 7874