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Home Health Imperial opens world's first center for psychedelics research | Imperial news

Imperial opens world's first center for psychedelics research | Imperial news

A colorized MRI image of the brain

The world's first formal center for psychedelic research opens today at Imperial College London.

The new Imperial Center for Psychedelic Research, funded by five founding donors of more than £ 3 million, will build on more than a decade of pioneering work in this area, conducted in Imperial, including a clinical trial involving efforts worldwide to develop Psilocybin has stimulated therapy in an approved treatment for depression. It will also examine the extent to which other conditions, including anorexia, can be treated.

Under the direction of dr. Robin Carhart-Harris focuses the center on two main research areas: the use of psychedelics in mental health care; and as a tool to study the minds of the brain.

Psychedelic therapy is promising for the treatment of some very serious mental illnesses and may one day offer new hope to vulnerable people with limited treatment options Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris Head of the Center for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London

The newly established center will be located on Imperial's Hammersmith campus and will share space between Imperial College London and the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The Center's goal is also to develop a research clinic that could help gather additional clinical evidence and become a prototype for the licensed psychedelic care facilities of the future.

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, director of the Imperial Center for Psychedelic Research, said, "This new center is a turning point for psychedelics science. symbolic of his current mainstream recognition. Psychedelics will have a major impact on neuroscience and psychiatry in the coming years. It is a privilege to be at the forefront of one of the most exciting areas of medical science. I am immensely grateful to the donors who made all this possible. "

Dr. Carhart-Harris adds, "It may take a few years for psychedelic therapy to be available to patients, but research has been very encouraging so far. Early-stage clinical research has shown that psychedelic therapy, when given safely and professionally, is very promising to treat some very serious mental illnesses and may one day offer new hope to vulnerable people with limited treatment options. "

frontier research

In the past decade, a number of research groups in Europe and America have conducted studies on the safety and efficacy of psychedelics for conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the new imperial center is the first to achieve this within a large academic setting Facility.

Imperial's Psychedelic Research Group was the first in the world to study the brain effects of LSD with advanced imaging in the brain, and the first to study psilocybin – the drug in magic mushrooms – for the treatment of major depression. These studies have laid the groundwork for larger trials that are now taking place around the world.

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

Another pioneering work in the group includes groundbreaking neuroimaging research with psilocybin, MDMA and DMT (the psychoactive substances found in ecstasy and ayahuasca, respectively).

Earlier this year, the group launched a new study comparing psilocybin therapy with a conventional antidepressant in patients with depression. A study for which she still recruits volunteers. Building on this, they plan to launch another new study next year to investigate the safety and feasibility of psilocybin for the treatment of anorexia patients.

Professor Paul Matthews, Head of the Department of Brain Sciences at Imperial, said: "This new center demonstrates the true commitment of the funders and the college to the rigorous study of what was, until recently, a peripheral area of ​​medical science. Through these and other aspects of our world-leading neuropharmacological research, one day we may be better able to respond to the widespread and serious mental illnesses that can destroy people's lives and for which there are currently few effective treatments. "

For more information on the ongoing clinical trial for treatment-resistant depression, contact Ashleigh Murphy: ashleigh.murphy@imperial.ac.uk. For more information, visit the team's website.

The current study conducted in Imperial "Psilocybin for Major Depression" is a randomized control study in depression. The researchers use fMRI to compare the treatment mechanisms of six weeks of daily escitalopram (SSRI antidepressant) with two doses of psilocybin. The trial began in January 2019 and the team is still recruiting for the participants. Detailed information can be found on the Psychedelic Research Group website.

The current study with psilocybin is being carried out with the financial support of the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust.

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