An Indiana University School of Medicine researcher has been awarded a $3 million grant to develop a nasal spray that can prevent suicidal thoughts among soldiers, reports Fox59.
Dr. Michael Kubek, associate professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology and of Neurobiology has been awarded the grant by the US Army. For the past three decades he has been working on the Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone, or the TRH, which is said to have an anti-suicidal and anti-depressent effect on humans. But the hormone isn't effective when taken orally or through an injection.
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Hence, Kubek along with researchers at the Purdue and Hebrew University in Jerusalem are developing it into a nasal spray so that they can directly deliver the drug to the nasal cavity, which can carry appropriate doses of the drug to the brain over a period of time.
"Today's commonly used antidepressants can take weeks to have an effect and carry a black box warning label for suicidal ideation in young adults. That is why we hope to develop a quick-acting, easy-to-use, non-invasive system that delivers a compound that's been shown to reduce suicidal thoughts," said Kubek.
According to statistics found by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs, the suicide rate among active-duty military personnel has increased since 2004 to about one suicide every day this year. The suicide rate is even higher among veterans. The IU School of Medicine project is one of the many ways research centers are trying to reduce the number of suicides in the nation's military.
The three-year research grant is an Applied Research and Advanced Technology Development Award, part of the Department of Defense's Defense Medical Research and Development Program, funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.