While many pharmaceutical firms have devoted significant resources to exploring the innovative realm of biologics, small molecule drug discovery remains a priority for multiple types of disease therapy. For illnesses like cancer, which have several subtypes and underlying biological mechanisms, a wide variety of treatment options is necessary to help […]

Major depressive disorder, or simply depression as it’s often referred colloquially, is one of the most common forms of mental illness today. Due to the number of people afflicted, many pharmaceutical companies have dedicated a large amount of resources to develop medications that can treat and manage the mood disorder. In fact, there are over 20 types of antidepressants currently available on the market. Despite the variety of approved medications, many people with depression—especially those with the chronic form of the disorder—continue without relief as existing drugs fail to help their condition. As a result, some patients have turned toward alternative methods such as repeated exposure to near-infrared light and infusions of a staple anesthetic popular among veterinarians and burn centers. And while the latter treatment, in particular, has caused some excitement within the psychiatric community due to its fast-acting effects and high efficacy among patients, the fact is that its results are only temporary. Patients can relapse only one week after an infusion. Such a treatment may function well as a stopgap in cases of people with serious symptoms of depression, but we cannot consider this viable in the long-term. The costs and dosing schedule necessary to administer the infusions could be untenable to the patient.