Project TitleGene Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder
Track Code2016-039
Short Description

Gene therapy for treating depression. #depression #therapeutics #genetherapy


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a highly prevalent public health problem. Although there are many drugs available to treat these patients, nearly all of them target the same chemicals in the brain and have limited therapeutic efficacy. In order to better treat these patients, Northwestern researchers have developed a gene therapy-based treatment for MDD that targets a distinct therapeutic mechanism. This therapy could be used to treat patients who are refractory to existing antidepressants or could be used in combination with pharmaceutical therapies. The researchers have developed two distinct gene therapies, each of which have demonstrated efficacious in mouse models for identifying antidepressants. The first therapy consists of over-expression of an auxiliary subunit of an ion channel in order to limit the trafficking of HCN channels. The second therapy over-expresses a gain-of-function mutant of an auxiliary subunit that promotes degradation of HCN channels and limits their trafficking. Both constructs promote an increase in antidepressant-like behavior and may have therapeutic benefit for patients suffering from MDD.

TagsPSYCHIATRY: depression, THERAPEUTICS: gene therapy
Posted DateFeb 2, 2017 9:43 AM


Dane Chetkovich*

Ye Han


  • Therapeutic for Major Depressive Disorder


  • Targets a novel and distinct mechanism
  • Offers additional options to patients not responding to other antidepressant therapies


Han Y, Heuermann R, Lyman K, Fisher D, Ismail Q and Chetkovich D (2016) HCN-channel dendritic targeting requires bipartite interaction with TRIP8b and regulates antidepressant-like behavioral effects.  Molecular Psychiatry, doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.99.

IP Status

US Provisional Patent application has been filed.

Contact Information

Gwendolyn Humphreys, PhD
Invention Associate
(p) 847.467.0308