OCT 29, 2021 8:00 AM PDT

A novel analogue of psilocin to treat mental health disorders

WRITTEN BY: J. Bryce Ortiz

Psilocybin and its metabolite psilocin are naturally occurring compounds that are commonly found in some genus of mushrooms. Psilocybin is more commonly referred to as the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. When psilocybin is ingested, the body metabolizes it into psilocin, which produces many of the mind-altering effects. These effects include feelings of euphoria, visual and mental hallucinations, distorted perception of time, and difficulty in discerning fantasy from reality. 

The mechanisms by which psilocin exerts these psychedelic effects occurs through activating receptors in the brain that respond to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Because of this, it has been postulated that psilocybin could be an effective treatment for mood disorders and addiction which are, in part, caused by disruption of the brain’s serotonin systems. In the past couple of decades, psilocybin has shown promise in treating mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. In one recent study it was shown that psilocybin was just as effective in treating depression and anxiety when compared to the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medication. As such, psilocybin has immense promise in the treatment of mental health disorders.

Yesterday, Mydecine, a biotechnology company, announced that it has successfully synthesized a novel psilocin analogue. The company stated that the new analogue has improved pharmaceutical properties and is a good candidate that can one day be used for therapy to combat mental health disorders. 

Interestingly, this novel drug was discovered using Mydecine’s artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery program. The drug discovery world frequently uses AI to quickly screen drug libraries and identify novel compounds. Rob Roscow, Chief Scientific Officer at Mydecine, said, “Our ability to rapidly uncover safer and more efficacious novel compounds, such as this psilocin analogue, is a true testament to the value and success of our AI-driven drug discovery program.” With this novel compound and others, Mydecine hopes to transform the treatment and improve the lives of individuals suffering from mental health disorders. 

 

 

Sources: Cleveland ClinicLabrootsNew England Journal of MedicineMydecineTwitternature

About the Author
  • Science and medical writer | Researcher | Interested in the intersection between translational science, drug development, and policy
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