There is evidence that around 9% of people who present with psychosis have very particular kinds of antibodies in their blood. The body is acting as if it is fighting an infection, triggering an inflammation response, and psychosis soon follows.
This is called ‘antibody-associated psychosis’ – or ‘autoimmune psychosis’, ‘autoimmune encephalitis’ and ‘antibody-mediated psychosis’.
People who have these antibodies often have symptoms very similar to those seen in schizophrenia and are often treated in mental health services with antipsychotic medication.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford received funding from the Stanley Medical Research Institute for the SINAPPS 1 study, which involved people with psychosis who have these antibodies, to learn more about the condition.
The team then investigated a possible new treatment in the SINAPPS 2 study, funded by the Medical Research Council.
Psychosis can be a frightening and distressing experience. It can disrupt your life, making you feel tired and overwhelmed.
This research has the potential to lead to a new way of treating a small but significant proportion of people with psychosis. The study may also help better understand what causes psychosis in this group of people.
McPin is facilitating the service user involvement for the study in the form of a Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) of seven service users.
The LEAP provides advice and assistance to the wider study team. Members of the LEAP will also assist with developing a much larger follow-up study which will take place across England.
Find out what it is like to be a member of the SINAPPs LEAP here.
The study began in July 2015 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As of 2023 the study is now open again recruiting new participants. It has also received additional funding to continue until 2026 to make up for the delay.
Antibody mediated psychosis booklet
Inflammation and mental health booklet
Intravenous immunoglobulin and rituximab versus placebo treatment of antibody-associated psychosis
Physical health • Psychosis
My experience of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel for SINAPPs
A new area of work for the McPin Foundation – mental health sciences
Inequality • Interventions