Research Fellows Directory
Dr Caroline Brennan
Queen Mary, University of London
The need to discover and develop safe and effective new medicines is greatest for disorders of the brain. According to the World Health Organisation, CNS disorders will be the greatest medical need of this Century as no CNS disorder is currently treated adequately and the number of people in the world with CNS disease is set to increase sharply in the decades ahead. Compared to other therapeutic areas, it takes longer to get a CNS drug to clinical settings, and the probability of getting there is lower. There are a number of contributing factors including the staggering complexity of the human brain, which means our knowledge all CNS disorders is largely incomplete, and the cost and difficulty in testing new compounds for effectiveness and safety. In order to reduce costs and facilitate development of effective therapeutics new means of assessing brain effects and safety of novel compounds are urgently sought by the pharmaceutical industry. In recent years zebrafish have been found to be a useful species in which to screen for genes and compounds affecting human disease conditions as they share many developmental and disease causing processes. We are working with Pfizer Inc to develop suitable zebrafish assays of behaviours associated with CNS disease to allow use of this relatively simple and cost effective species for use in the drug discovery process for treatments for CNS disorders. Zebrafish can contribute to the discovery process by helping to identify genes and processes underlying disease conditions as well as providing a system in which to test for drug effectiveness and safety. Although zebrafish can not replace the use of other animal species entirely, they provide a simple, cost effective system for first round trials and have the potential to increase the rate at which compounds can be brought to market.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)