Ivan Skorodumov, MSc
Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany
Psychedelics in rat models of alcohol addiction
Alcohol addiction, characterized by compulsive desire to drink alcohol despite knowledge or evidence of its harmful consequences, affects about 23 million Europeans and creates a large health burden worldwide. In the last decade, there was considerable enthusiasm that advances in the field of neuroscience would soon translate into mechanistically novel alcohol addiction therapies. However, several new mechanisms that appeared to hold great promise based on preclinical data failed to translate to the human condition. We have created a working group (BMBF funded Project: Psi-Alc) with partners in Switzerland, Italy and France aiming to improve the reliability of preclinical academic research and produce meaningful and translatable results for subsequent cost-intensive Phase II/III testing in alcohol-addicted patients. There is preliminary evidence for the safety and efficacy of classical psychedelics, such as LSD and psilocybin, in the treatment of alcohol addiction; however, large-scale randomized controlled trials are missing. We are using unique rat models for alcohol addiction and have implemented a novel concept of randomized multi-center preclinical phase II testing in laboratory animals. Prior to discussions with regulatory bodies, dose determination and phase II clinical trial, our Psi-Alc working group is currently assessing the effectiveness and safety of psilocybin in rats for treating alcohol addiction, including a step-wise translation into alcoholic patients. We will be able to present data on alcohol relapse behavior measured by alcohol deprivation effect in male and female rats. Final data will guide us to build up a robust preclinical data set for a promising translation to the patients.
My research interests include neuropsychopharmacology of psychedelics, their molecular mechanisms of action and therapeutic applications in the treatment of addictive behaviors. I studied pharmacology at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and completed my Diploma thesis in 2017. In September 2018 I moved to Germany to continue my education and studied Neuroscience at the International Max Planck Research School at Georg-August University of Göttingen. After successful completion of the study year in July 2019 I joined Prof. Dr. Rainer Spanagel’s psychopharmacology department at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim to participate in BMBF funded project Psi-Alc as my Master thesis.