Scientists in Australia have announced a research network to look for new solutions in treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

The Australian Psychosis Research Network (APRN) will include more than 80 leading researchers from many Australian institutions, including The Black Dog Institute at the University of NSW school of psychiatry.

The chair of Hospital and Community Psychiatry at the University of Queensland, Professor Stanley Catts, said the body is a world first.

“Up until now, research has been been largely uncoordinated with little incentive for collaboration. This is the first time that the schizophrenia and bipolar researchers of any nation, including Australia, have united to form a network with a coordinated research focus,” he said.

Catts was also quoted saying, “There has not been one genuinely new medication introduced for over 50 years. They have all been variations of the same thing – successful in achieving expansion of market share for the pharmaceuticals companies but not residing in genuine therapeutic advances and long-term outcomes.” The network will focus on innovation, something we need more of in all the world. Some in the Australian community are still interested in refining the same old meds, however.

[SANE Australia deputy director Paul] Morgan said he wanted to see the organization carry out further research into treatments that are currently available for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“APRN’s work is primarily focused on molecular brain research, but what is equally important is further research into the best treatments that are available now because there is scope for improvement.”

It’s an exciting initiative and we can look forward to emerging research with a range of approaches, hopefully, and new ideas welcome.

The News.com.au story ended with an understatement. “The organization will seek some funding from government.” At the moment, they have none.

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