Technology Listings

Serological Diagnostic Test to Assess Antidepressant Drug Therapy


This technology provides a method of measuring a patient's response to antidepressant drug therapy on the transport inhibition of monoamine neurotransmitters.

Technical Summary

Treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders often involves manipulation of neurotransmitter transport systems with pharmaceutical agents that inhibit or antagonize a particular transporter. Application of an appropriate antagonist to block uptake prolongs and enhances the action of the neurotransmitter. Determination of the amount of transporter antagonism as a function of drug dose or blood concentration is most successfully studied using in vivo techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET). However, PET is a very invasive procedure that utilizes radioactive isotopes injected into the body and requires access to nearby state of the art research facilities.

The technology provides a method of measuring the potency of individual drugs to antagonize monoamine transporters in vitro using cultured cells and patient serum. The overall effectiveness of the inhibitory drug may be determined by comparing the measured uptake of labeled neurotransmitter in a baseline serum sample compared to that of serum derived from blood samples drawn from the patient after administration of the drug. The method is particularly effective for determining the effectiveness of drug treatment on an individual basis in view of the varying efficacy of antidepressant drugs among individuals.

Potential Market
  • The antidepressant drug market reached sales of almost $11 billion in 2008.
  • Approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a depressive disorder.
Patent Information
Tech ID: 01024
Published: 4/14/2011

Cliff Michaels
Assistant Director
Emory University

Michael Owens
Charles Nemeroff