Scientists in the U.K. say that a CK-1 inhibitor in Pfizer's pipeline was able to reset the body clock in mice, a discovery that has profound implications for developing a new class of drugs that could address everything from jet lag to mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder.
"We've discovered that we can control one of the key molecules involved in setting the speed at which the clock ticks and in doing so we can actually kick it into a new rhythm," Manchester University's Andrew Loudon tells Reuters. "The implication of this is that if you have humans with severely disrupted rhythms--and that is quite a common occurrence--these drugs could...act as potent regulators of body clock function. They're probably the first such potential drugs that could do that."
CK-1 is one of several enzymes that control the body clock, the natural circadian rhythm that guides sleep and waking. But once the clock stops working correctly, for any reason, the disruption can cause serious ailments. By resetting the clock, the researchers believe they can prevent the diseases.
Loudon, who worked with researchers from Pfizer, says that the work extends far beyond mental disorders and jet lag. A new pill could cure insomnia and even treat obesity, he tells the Telegraph.