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December 15, 2021

Pipeline in Jeopardy—Challenges in Developing Patient-Oriented Interventions Researchers in Psychiatry and Opportunities for Action

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York
  • 2Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA Psychiatry
JAMA Psychiatry. 2022;79(2):95-96. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.3262

Psychiatric disorders are prevalent and disabling. Despite investment over the past 2 decades, few new treatments emerged, and drug trials repeatedly ended in disappointment.1 In 2014, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) announced a new vision for treatment development, requiring investigators to establish mechanistic targets of interventions before testing efficacy in clinical trials.1 Proponents maintain this approach focuses investment towards the most promising treatments and ensures even failed trials improve mechanistic understanding. Critics argue it impedes studying interventions that could help patients today.2

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