SINAPPS Study: Immunotherapy for Psychosis

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 anti-psychotic medication. This condition is known as ‘antibody mediated psychosis’. You can view a booklet about antibody mediated psychosis by clicking here.


A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of 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.


Why is this research important?

Psychosis can be a frightening and distressing experience. It can disrupt your life, making you feel tired and overwhelmed. This 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.


How are McPin and people affected by psychosis involved in this research?

The McPin Foundation will be facilitating the service user involvement for this study in the form of a Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) of seven service users. 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.


How long will the project run?

The study began in July 2015 and is expected to run until December 2021. Currently, participants are being recruited for this study.


Who do I contact for more information?

You can find out more about this research on the SINAPPS group website.


Please contact Thomas Kabir or Tillie Cryer by email: | or phone: 0207 922 7874 for more information.