A preclinical drug screening protocol for the detection of off-target activity of psychotropic drugs for the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease


Lead AcademicCo-InvestigatorsCentre Fellow(s)Secondee
Byron Creese

Aaron Jeffries (UEMS)

Jon Mill (UEMS)

Clive Ballard (UEMS)

Mark Kelson (CEMPS)


 Sam Jones


Lay summary:

We aim to create a new step in drug development for agitation and psychosis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) which flags up safety concerns before human trials.

Many existing drugs for agitation and psychosis in AD have harmful side effects. Collectively these drugs are called antipsychotics. They are safe in younger adults but their harmful effects in AD were only realised after they had been used for many years. This is an important lesson: we cannot always assume that safety profiles of existing drugs apply to AD. We need a better way to test safety before new drugs for agitation or psychosis enter human trials.

Our genes are like a code which is used for making everything about us. The process of reading our genes and turning them into the final product is called gene expression.  Changes in gene expression underlie many diseases and are also altered by many drugs. We will use computer algorithms to identify how different drugs can cause unwanted changes in the way genes are expressed in Alzheimer’s disease.  This information could be used as an early warning sign for new drugs before these are trialled in people with AD.