Peterborough hospital trust to take part in pioneering trial for Schizophrenia treatment

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) is one of five NHS sites to run the UK’s first clinical trial to investigate a potential new anticonvulsant treatment for schizophrenia.

By Ben Jones
Monday, 4th April 2022, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 10:57 pm
CPFT consultant psychiatrist and ATLANTIS co-investigator Dr Emilio Fernandez-Egea and clinical research nurse Thea Baillie ready to welcome participants at CPFT’s Windsor Research Unit.
CPFT consultant psychiatrist and ATLANTIS co-investigator Dr Emilio Fernandez-Egea and clinical research nurse Thea Baillie ready to welcome participants at CPFT’s Windsor Research Unit.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness affecting one in 100 people and is a major global health issue. The main evidence-based treatment is antipsychotic drugs, but for one in three people these drugs don’t help to improve their symptoms.

This treatment resistance leads to additional NHS admissions and healthcare costs, and a worse quality of life for many people with schizophrenia.

CPFT researchers are collaborating with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust on the ATLANTIS (AnTiconvuLsant AugmeNtation Trial in Schizophrenia) national clinical trial funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

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The Cavell Centre in Bretton.

The study launched this year to test a new schizophrenia treatment approach with sodium valproate, a licensed anticonvulsant medicine used to treat seizures.

Co-investigator for ATLANTIS and CPFT consultant psychiatrist Dr Emilio Fernandez-Egea said: “Working with my teams at the Trust’s Clozapine Clinic and Cambridge Psychosis Centre, I see many people who could benefit from new treatments for schizophrenia to support their recovery.

“It is our duty to offer them the latest research opportunities and turn scientific discoveries into better mental health care and treatments in our clinics, as quickly as possible.

“We are delighted to be part of the team working on the first clinical trial of sodium valproate for schizophrenia, to see if it can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life when added to antipsychotic treatment plans.”

ATLANTIS is one of the first major studies supported by CPFT’s Cambridge Psychosis Centre.

This specialist multidisciplinary team provides advice and guidance for the pharmacological management and treatment of complex schizophrenia cases where people may be resistant to standard treatments. They work at the forefront of psychosis research to test cutting-edge novel therapies and treatments and find new routes to recovery.

Chief Investigator and King’s IoPPN Professor of Molecular Psychiatry Oliver Howes said: “I am delighted that CPFT have joined the ATLANTIS trial. There’s a desperate need for new evidenced based treatments to help people with schizophrenia. It is great to be working with CPFT’s specialist research and clinical staff to address this need.”

The CPFT research team are looking for volunteers over 18 years old, who are taking antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia. If eligible to take part, volunteers will be reimbursed for their time and inconvenience (up to £150) and reasonable travel expenses will also be paid.

If you are interested in taking part, know or care for someone who might be able to, please get in touch with CPFT’s Windsor Research Unit on 01223 219531 to speak with one of our Clinical Research Nurses or email [email protected]

If you would like to discuss or refer a complex schizophrenia case, contact Dr Emilio Fernandez at the Cambridge Psychosis Centre via [email protected] and find out more about this service at: www.cpft.nhs.uk/psychosis-centre.