The first official psychedelic research center in the world will be launched today at Imperial College London.
Funded by more than £ 3 million from five founding donors, the new Imperial Center for Psychological Research will build on pioneering work in Imperial over a decade, including a clinical trial that began with global efforts to develop psilocybin. treatment for depression. It will also explore their potential for treating other conditions, including anorexia.
Led by Dr. Robin Karhart-Harris, the Center will focus on two main topics of the study: the use of psychedelics in the care of mental health; and as tools to explore the brain's consciousness.
Psychological therapy has many promises to treat some very serious mental illnesses and may one day offer new hope to vulnerable people with limited treatment options. Dr. Robin Karhart-Harris Head of Center for Psychological Research, Imperial College London
The newly established center will be based in Imperial Hammersmith's camp, sharing the space between Imperial College London and the Imperial College of Health NHS Trust.
The center also aims to develop a research clinic that can help to gather additional clinical evidence and become a prototype of licensed psychedelic facilities of the future.
Dr. Robin Karhart-Harris, head of the Imperial Center for Psychological Research, said: "This new center is an important milestone for psychedelic science; symbolic of his current recognition. Psychologists will have a major impact on neurology and psychiatry in the coming years. Such a privilege is to be at the head of one of the most exciting areas of medical science. I am extremely grateful to the donors who have made it all possible. "
Dr. Karhart-Harris adds: "It may take several years for patients to receive psychedelic therapy, but so far, research has been very encouraging. Clinical studies at an early stage have shown that, when delivered safely and professionally, psychedelic therapy has many promises to treat some very serious mental illnesses and one day can offer new hope to vulnerable people with limited treatment options.
Over the last decade, a number of research groups in Europe and America have conducted psychedelic safety and effectiveness studies on conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the new Imperial Center first won this level of leadership in a major academic institution.
The Imperial Psychedelic Research Group is the first in the world to explore the brain effects of LSD using modern brain imaging and the first to explore psilocybin, the active substance in magical mushrooms, for the treatment of severe depression. These studies have laid the foundations for larger trials that are taking place around the world.
Another pioneering work in the group includes studies on the penetration of neurological images with psilocybin, MDMA and DMT (psychoactive compounds found in ecstasy and ayuhaska respectively).
Earlier this year, the group began a new study directly comparing treatment with psilocybin with a conventional antidepressant in depressed patients – a study for which they are still recruiting volunteers. Based on this, they are planning to launch another new study next year to investigate the safety and feasibility of psilocybin for the treatment of patients with anorexia.
Professor Paul Matthews, Head of the Brain Science Department of Imperial, said: "This new Center demonstrates the true commitment of sponsors and colleagues to thoroughly investigate what has recently been a cross-domain of medical science. Through this and other aspects of our world-leading neuropharmacological research, one day we can better deal with widespread and serious mental illnesses that can destroy people's lives and for which there are currently few effective treatments . "
For more details on the current clinical trial for treatment-resistant depression, contact Ashleigh Murphy: [email protected] and visit the team's web site for more details.
The current study in the Imperial "Psilocybin for Major Depression" is a randomized controlled trial of major depressive disorder. Researchers used fMRI to compare treatments with a six-weekly daily escitalopram (SSRI antidepressant) with two doses of psilocybin. The process started in January 2019 and the team still recruited for participants. For more detailed information, visit the Psychological Research Group web site.
The current experience with psilocybin is carried out with the financial support of the charity fund Alexander Mosley.