Inhibiting Importin to Treat Psychiatric Stress and Other Disorders (No. T4-1875)

Lead Researcher: Prof. Michael Fainzilber


Anxiety and stress-related disorders effect 10-30% of the general population and are therefore considered a major burden on public health. Current medical treatments for anxiety disorders include drugs that target various synaptic mechanisms, such as uptake of neurotransmitters. However, severe side-effects and suboptimal efficacy prevent long-term treatment with such drugs.
The research team led by Prof. Fainzilber characterized a specific importin family member, importin Alpha5, which is a protein that plays a role in transferring proteins to the cells’ nucleus. They discovered that importin Alpha5 influences anxiety levels, and therefore its manipulation can reduce anxiety and provide possible treatment for related psychiatric disorders. Moreover, they have identified approved drugs and nutraceuticals acting via importin Alpha5 controlled pathways that can now be repositioned for treatment of anxiety disorders.


·      Reduce anxiety levels.
·      Treat a variety of diseases - from psychiatric disorders to multiple sclerosis.
·      Novel signaling pathway - role in various neurological disorders.

Technology's Essence

Prof. Fainzilber's team used in vivo mouse models and a panel of behavioral tests to link between expression of importin Alpha5 and anxiety levels. By deciphering signaling pathways regulated by importin Alpha5 they were able to show both a molecular and pharmacological evidence for its involvement in anxiety. They have also identified approved drugs and nutraceuticals targeting this pathway that can be repositioned for anxiety treatment. Consequently importin Alpha5 represents a potential novel drug target for the treatment of psychiatric disorders and may also impact multiple sclerosis. Additional details with regard to this technology can be obtained based on a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
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