Synergy in Action

16th Annual Meeting Abstract: Role of reward processing assessment as a tool in drug development

Chairs:  Larry Ereshefsky PharmD, BCPP; Raimund Buller MD

Symptoms such as apathy, anhedonia, and loss of motivation, are tied to reward processing. Additionally, as a result of apathy, reduced social drive, lack of social interest, and inattention to social or cognitive input occur, and are associated with the morbidity of a number of CNS disorders. These symptoms have largely remained an elusive aspiration for pharmacological intervention. Recently, an ever-increasing amount of effort has been dedicated to the understanding and characterization of these symptoms. Recent advances in the field, such as the Diagnostic Criteria for Apathy in Neurocognitive Disorders, endorsed by ISCTM, ISTAART, and IPA, as well as the EPA Trans-Diagnostic Criteria for Apathy, bring this area to the forefront, setting the stage for treatment advances in a variety of CNS Disorders. The growing application and value of neurocircuitry and brain systems approaches to ‘positive valence systems’ and understanding how the units of analysis (circuits, physiology, behavior, self-reports) comprising reward processing support candidate selection, experimental medicine strategies, potentially accelerating the developing of treatments for psychiatric disorder will be presented. In this symposium, we focus on our current understanding of reward processing and how it relates to a variety of neuropsychiatric diagnoses. Our symposium will apply the neurobiological basis of reward processing, to suggest and evaluate translational strategies using preclinical and clinical assessment tools, and their utility in drug development. Specific focus will be on application to Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s Disease, and Depression for both early phase studies, as well as ‘scale up’ considerations to larger multicenter trials.