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Improving Psychiatric Research Through Better Clinical Trials

In This Video

  • Maurizio Fava, MD, is the psychiatrist-in-chief in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and executive director of the Clinical Trials Network & Institute (CTNI)
  • CTNI offers services to support drug development and clinical trials, including protocol design and medical monitoring, in all areas of central nervous system research
  • In this video, he discusses how and why CTNI is working to improve clinical trials

In addition to his roles the psychiatrist-in-chief in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and director of the Division of Clinical Research in the Mass General Research InstituteMaurizio Fava, MD, is also the executive director of the Clinical Trials Network & Institute (CTNI). In this video, he discusses how CTNI is working to improve clinical trials in the field of psychiatry.


The Clinical Trials Network Institute or CTNI at Mass General is an academic CRO that we developed over 10 years ago to address a problem that we face in psychiatric research, which is the problem of quality assurance or making sure that the right patients get into trials, that the right designs are used in clinical trials and that the right methodology is adopted in clinical trials.

There is tremendous imprecision in conducting clinical trials. If you don't improve your quality assurance, if you don't use the right methods or the right designs. We have a large team that works with biotech companies and industry to really help develop new therapies by using a cutting-edge methodology to improve our ability to detect signals in clinical trials.

One of the studies that we have recently completed at CTNI was a multicenter study of ketamine, which is an anesthetic that when used in low doses, has rapid anti-depressive effects. We conducted or coordinated a multicenter study across many academic sites looking at different doses of intravenous ketamine in resistant depression.

And what we found in the study was that contrary to what people believed, ketamine in subanesthetic doses seems to be helpful in a range of different doses, although the most effective dose was 0.5 mg per kilogram, but we've also shown that lower doses might be efficacious as well.

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