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BGU Researchers Develop Fast Way to Manage Schizophrenia

BGU Researchers Develop Fast Way to Manage Schizophrenia

February 17, 2021

Medical Research

The Jerusalem Post — BGU researchers have developed an innovative, faster way to measure the effectiveness of Clozapine in patients suffering from schizophrenia with a pin prick.

Clozapine is often used to help patients who were unaided by other drugs and is usually given after two existing medications failed. If taken twice a day, the drug takes roughly one week to develop balance in the patient and is used for other mental illnesses, such as psychotic depression and other forms of intense mania.

However, during this one week, patients must undergo various blood draws to determine how they are responding to the treatment. The drug is effective but has serious side effects, and better testing would spare patients time and increase their comfort level as they attempt to regain their mental health.

Dr. Hadar Ben-Yoav, senior lecturer at BGU’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, and his team were able to build a tiny sensor to detect the levels of the drug in the patient’s blood by using one drop, easily attained with a pin prick. This can be done thanks to the sensor being able to detect even very tiny amounts of redox molecules in untreated blood samples. Other methods require more blood be taken, and for the samples to undergo lab treatment to infer how the drug is able to affect the patient. Faster testing would, hopefully, enable patients to get effective help with fewer risks from side effects.

“The unique aspect of Clozapine,” Ben-Yoav told The Jerusalem Post, “is that it is one of the few psychiatric drugs to have a known range of attaining effectiveness. Meaning, once a specific level of concentration in the blood is reached, the patient benefits from the effects.”

Read more in The Jerusalem Post >>