Assoc. Prof. Janet Cunningham MD PhD

Janet L Cunningham is an Associate Professor in Experimental Psychiatry and is a board certified specialist in Clinical Psychiatry. She leads the Immunopsychiatry team at Uppsala University, Sweden, that aims to develop tools to differentiate adaptive from maladaptive immunological responses in treatment-resistant patients with severe psychiatric symptoms in order to identify patients for whom immunomodulation therapy would be beneficial. The hypothesis is that different types of maladaptive immunological responses may contribute to some cases of psychiatric disease and these may include immunodeficiencies, vulnerabilities such as difficulty in mobilizing anti-inflammatory processes needed for inflammation resolution and autoimmunity. To ensure relevance for clinical psychiatry, research is tightly integrated with patient care at Uppsala University Hospital. Cross-sectional and longitudinal data is continuously collected from daily practice and clinical trials. The strategy is to use and compare knowledge gained by in-depth analysis of individual cases and large-scale analysis of markers related to the immune system in broad patient cohorts to identify markers with variation within the patient group with potential relevance for diagnosis and clinical prognosis. The research questions have the potential to directly impact clinical practice in psychiatry. Recruitment for an academic randomized double blinded controlled trial using Rituximab for autoimmune OCD and psychosis is planned for the late spring 2021 (Clinical trials identifier NCT04323566). To improve both clinical and research collaboration in the area of immunopsychiatry on a national level, she had recently initiated the “The Swedish Immunopsychiatry Alliance”.