Adult 18+

Opportunity to shape a study on the immune mechanisms of antipsychotic treatment response

Medication • Psychosis

What’s the project?

Antipsychotic drugs are the usual treatment for early psychosis. They can effectively reduce symptoms in the short-term. However, they have significant side-effects impacting functioning in day-to-day life. Some stop taking their medication due to these side-effects and then they may get unwell again.

To address this, we need to better understand the specific ways that antipsychotic drugs act to reduce symptoms and cause side effects. This would allow the development of treatments targeting specific mechanisms, with far fewer side-effects.

There is increasing evidence that the immune system may have a role to play in psychosis.  Our immune system defends us against harmful agents (such as a virus), and comprises the activation of certain cells and the release of certain molecules (immune markers). Antipsychotic drugs could act by changing the way that the immune system responds in the brain and elsewhere in the body.

The researchers aim to find out if, and how, the immune system can influence how people respond to antipsychotic drugs. They will do this by taking blood samples (and in a small number of cases fluid from the spine using a procedure called a ‘lumbar puncture’) and measuring the immune markers present before and after someone starts taking an antipsychotic drug. This work could lead to the development of more targeted and personalised treatments for people with psychosis.

Find out more

The researchers have successfully received funding from the Wellcome Trust to conduct the study and are now working on putting together the application for ethical approval. They are looking for about seven people with relevant lived experience to attend a workshop to advise on this ethics application.

We will keep you updated on how your feedback shaped the ethics application. You will also be invited to apply to be part of the  Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) and/or Involvement Network, advising throughout the study, spanning seven years.

LocationOnline via Zoom, link to join and workshop materials will be provided nearer the time.

Date and timeWednesday 29th November, 11.00 am – 1.00 pm.

What to expect at the workshop:

About a week before the workshop, we will send around materials including the zoom link to join, an attendance list, agenda, and any relevant study documents so everyone can prepare a little in advance.

The focus will be on looking at key questions we need to answer in the ethical approval application e.g. the chosen naturalistic approach to recruitment to the study, and the arrangements required for people who may lack capacity to consent to inclusion in research and their family members.

We hope to bring about seven people with lived experience together with a few members of staff from McPin and the research team, so the workshop will have about 12 people attending.

We will work as a whole team in one group but might also need to move into smaller break-out rooms, which can be easier for everyone to voice an opinion.

Payment: You will be offered payment of £50 for attending the full 2 hour workshop, as well as payment at a rate of £25 per hour for a maximum of 2 hours work on any pre-reading sent beforehand.

  • Have lived experience of psychosis, and/or are the family member of someone with psychosis.
  • Be available to attend the workshop Wednesday 29th November, 11.00 am – 1.00 pm.
  • Have a stable internet connection or phone line to join the workshop online via Zoom.
  • Have a UK-based bank account for payment.

If this is of interest, please send an email with the subject heading, ‘IMAT Study’ to Annie, [email protected], who will be in touch after the deadline closes on Wednesday 22nd  November, 5.00 pm.

Wednesday 22nd  November, 5.00 pm

Please note that the McPin Foundation regularly promotes opportunities on behalf of other institutions; we are not responsible for the continuation or contents of further correspondence with any project partners where we are not listed as the project main point of contact.

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