Platform may find new options for mental health treatment

A drug discovery platform for mental health treatment could also help to identify mechanisms for the treatment of substance use disorders.

Scientists from Purdue University, US have created a platform focused on finding new medication options for people who have mental illnesses.

The Computational Analysis of Novel Drug Opportunities (CANDO) drug discovery platform is designed to predict the effectiveness of certain psychoactive drugs, which act primarily upon the central nervous system. 

“One of the areas we are looking at with the platform is the use of non-addictive cannabis-based drugs that may help people with mental illness,” said Gaurav Chopra, who led the creation of the platform. “Our approach is unique because we look at compound interactions with the entire proteome, rather than the traditional approach of focusing on the interaction with just one target or just by looking at the structure of the drug.”

The platform analyses how a drug may work for certain mental illnesses, based on a collective comparison with all other drugs already approved to treat the same conditions.

It also looks for signature compound interactions with proteins that are similar in the proposed drugs with those already being used to treat people.

This will enhance research in drug discovery for several mental health conditions”

“Our goal with this platform is mapping potential uses for selected drugs to serve as a starting point to ignite further research into the once forbidden field of mental illnesses,” Chopra said. “Our work on compound interactions of all known psychoactive substances provides a resource to further verify the use of selected psychoactives, identify mechanisms of action and suggest relationships between different mental health indications.

“This will enhance research in drug discovery for several mental health conditions as well as help with identifying mechanisms for eventual treatment of indications such as pain and substance use disorder.”

Details about the platform were published in Scientific Reports.