£1m boost for research into mental illness

Research into schizophrenia and bipolar disorder has received a £1 million boost with funding from the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).

The money will aid a project being carried out by scientists at Edinburgh University who are growing brain cells from skin samples taken from families known to carry faulty genes which are believed to cause mental illness.

They hope to develop brain stem cells that could be used to test and screen drugs.

Professor of Biological Psychiatry Andrew McIntosh said: “We are making different types of brain cells out of skin samples from people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. We can then study the cells’ neurological function and see how they respond to psychiatric treatments. Then we hope to be able to screen new medicines.”