CSIRO is working with biomedical companies to improve and develop psychedelics to help people with mental health problems, including depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Psychedelics such as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and psilocybin, which are derived from certain species of fungi, are being tested in Australia and internationally under controlled conditions.
Researchers are looking to determine if they can be effective treatments with psychotherapy – CSIRO says the results so far have been encouraging.
It is estimated that one in five Australians suffers from mental illness each year, but many do not respond to existing treatments.
“CSIRO has good opportunities to contribute to this new area of research that can lead to changing advances in mental health,” said CSIRO scientist Peter Duggan.
“Well-known psychedelics have been used in clinical trials, both here and internationally – usually MDMA or psilocybin … with impressive results, but much remains to be learned about how these drugs work and how improving their chemical composition can improve results. patients.
“By working with local industry to improve drug design and patient experiences, CSIRO can push Australia to a leading position in the development of these life-changing drugs.”
One of the companies is the Melbourne company Natural MedTech, which seeks to further investigate the psychoactive properties of plants and fungi.
“Natural MedTech is working to develop psychedelic treatments for several obscure neurological disorders,” said CEO Mark Hesterman.
“Working with CSIRO allows us to collaborate with some of Australia’s leading scientists and gain access to state-of-the-art products that meet the unique requirements of Natural MedTech.
“The planned renewal of the CSIRO poisoning license will mean that they can legally produce the raw materials we need to further research and develop psychedelic molecules to advance new drugs to clinical trials.”