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NRI Professor Research leads to First Medicine for Postpartum Depression

By   /  April 8, 2019  /  No Comments

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(College Station, Texas). Indian-born Scientist Dr. Samba Reddy’s research helped develop first medicine for the brain condition postpartum depression.
Earlier this month, the U.S. FDA approved the first drug to treat postpartum depression, brexanolone, which will be marketed under the brand name Zulresso.
About one out of every nine women experience postpartum depression. The condition can make it impossible for them to care for and bond with their babies, and although traditional antidepressants can help, they take weeks to work—such long time that women with suicidal thoughts or fears of harming their children may not be able to afford.
Brexanolone is a rename of allopregnanolone, a hormone synthesized by the body from progesterone. It is the first “neurosteroid” to enter the clinic. Dr. Samba Reddy, Professor at the Texas A&M University College of Medicine, has been working on the basic science behind the drug for the last two decades.
In 1999, when Dr. Reddy was working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), he discovered how stress-induced release of neurosteroids protect the brain. Later, he has co-invented a neurosteroid replacement therapy.
More recently, Dr. Reddy and his team mapped the “neuro-code” for treating women with menstrual period-linked epilepsy—a condition with similar qualities as postpartum depression.
“The new drug is based on our core neurosteroid replacement therapeutic strategy, as highlighted in more than 50 papers in the past 20 years, including identifying a unique mechanism during perimenstrual and postpartum period,” Dr. Reddy said.
One issue that people have raised with brexanolone is that it requires remaining in the hospital for nearly three days while receiving the drug by IV injection. Dr. Reddy hopes some of his discoveries may prove better delivery options in the future. He hopes to move forward into clinical trials with nearly 20 second-generation neurosteroids that he and his team have synthesized, tested in preclinical models and patented in the USA.
“These new analogs are superior to brexanolone because they could be formulated into a pill that could be taken orally and wouldn’t require a hospital stay,” Dr. Reddy said. “We think that they have the potential to help even more women with postpartum depression and other hormone-related brain conditions.”
Dr. Reddy hails from Warangal in Telangana State, India. He has long record of exceptional discoveries in medical pharmacology including introducing new therapeutics for many brain conditions.
He received his pharmacy degree from Kakatiya University in Warangal and doctorate in pharmacology from Panjab University in Chandigarh. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.
He is a tenured Professor of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M University, the largest University in Texas and the second largest in the United States. He instructs both medical and graduate students and directs a research team in translational pharmacology. Dr. Reddy’s publications are available worldwide (http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2735-9550).

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