Development of agents for controlling mood

Period of Performance: 04/03/2009 - 03/31/2010

$250K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luccell, Inc.
Cleveland, OH 44106
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): LucCell, Inc. is a medical and research development company whose goal is to develop innovative technology for the research community as well as potential treatments for psychiatric diseases. LucCell's innovative technology combines viral delivery methods with light activated proteins and cell-type specific genomic information to control brain circuitry and cellular signaling. LucCell's unique advantage will be the ability to validate these tools using sophisticated physiological, molecular, and imaging techniques. We will create viruses that contain cell-type specific promoters/enhancers in combination with light activated proteins for cell-type specific expression of the light activated protein of choice. Our initial effort will be aimed at controlling presynaptic serotonergic circuitry in the brain. This allows us to switch on or off serotonin neurons precisely, quickly and controllably by exposure to light. This approach was recently named a "Method to Watch" in a feature called "Method of the Year" (Nature Methods 5, 23 (2008)). Using this approach we will be able to produce research tools that will enable researchers to enhance their understanding of cellular function, particularly in neuronal circuits. The unique LucCell products are not available from any other source. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The LucCell products will enable researchers to enhance their understanding of cellular function, particularly in neuronal circuits, and second will enable clinicians to control serotonin levels in humans. Drugs controlling serotonin levels in the brain are currently the main medications in anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and depression. These drugs are frequently ineffective or carry a considerable side-effect burden. Thus, LucCell's technology promises a wholly novel approach to treatment of these diseases.