Can Psilocybin Treat Hyperphagia? Tryp Therapeutics’ Jim Gilligan & Dr. Jennifer Miller Want To Know
Last week, The Dales Report sat down with President and Chief Scientific Officer of Tryp Therapeutics (CNSX: TRYP) (OTCMKTS: TRYPF) Jim Gilligan and the company’s principal research investigator Dr. Jennifer Miller to talk about their ongoing scientific research around psilocybin and eating disorders.
Dr. Miller is the professor of pediatrics and endocrinology at the University of Florida. At Tryp, she leads its phase two clinical trials and explained how the unique work is related to a specific eating disorder.
“We’re going to focus on people with specific neurologic causes of eating disorders, so primarily something called hyperphagia, where [a patient] just never feels full, they are constantly wanting to eat,” she said.
Their research will focus on people with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a group with hypothalamic obesity (caused by removal of a brain tumor that disrupts circuits in the brain that affects appetite and satiety), as well as a group with binge eating disorder.
The Question: Could Psilocybin Treat Hyperphagia?
Dr. Miller said that treatments for these types of eating disorders haven’t evolved in many years, and there is a heavy reliance on daily medications.
“All of the currently available approved obesity and eating disorder medications are daily medications: you stop taking them, you stop having the efficacy,” she said.
“Our hope with psilocybin, [is that] once- or twice-a-year treatments will allow these neural networks to rewire themselves and provide a more chronic treatment, which doesn’t exist right now.”
For those with more rare disorders that Tryp will be studying in the first round of research, Dr. Miller said there is no existing treatment: “none of the currently available treatments or even past available treatments touch their appetite and fullness.”
The Strategy: Work With The Best Researchers
Gilligan shed light on how the working relationship with the University of Florida was first established: “The strategic concept was that we needed to find the absolute key opinion leaders and key researchers in the field, and that brought us to Dr. Miller, who fortunately agreed to work with us,” he said.
“Our idea was, if you find people who have worked in the field, in the area, with the patients, they know much better than we do. What Tryp is supplying is the psychedelic expertise as a compliment… we think that gives us the best likelihood of a positive outcome.”
Dr. Miller said there is much excitement in the medical field around psychedelic research, particularly in her field, because for many patients with the disorders she specializes in, there is no treatment.
“For something like this to potentially help is a huge boon to the endocrine community because all we can do is manage symptoms, and we cannot effectively treat the problem,” she said. “This provides that opportunity to treat the underlying problem… I do think that people are excited about the possibility.”
The Goal: Find A Chronic Treatment
Gilligan echoed Dr. MIller’s sentiments and said that with a combination of psilocybin and psychotherapy, “we’re trying to address what’s causing the problem, and I think that approach is different.”
Tryp’s ongoing work related to eating disorders is part of a larger effort to explore the clinical potential for psilocybin as a long lasting treatment in different areas.
“What we’d like to be able to do is demystify and show that there’s good clinical data; there’s good reason to believe that there’s an opportunity to do this, and I think the more groups that have success across the spectrum, the better off we’re going to be,” said Gilligan.
“The entire approach will be better accepted.”
Dr. Miller saids she couldn’t be too sure of if and when psilocybin might actually be used as a treatment for eating disorders and other conditions, and that the work is still in its infancy. The general medical community continues to be very skeptical about alternative medical therapies, including psychedelics.
Check out the video to hear the entire interview.